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Presented to 

[ ' The New York Public Library  


. 1875-1949 . 














ASTO!:. i.:::;:jx .•.; i» 
TILDPN r'-rNDAr:eNs 

T. WHITI |( c 



The Persones Prologue • Page 1 

The Persones Tale. •• •• 4 

Notes on the Canterbury Tales 1S5 




By that the Manciple had his tale ended, 17312 
The Sonne fro the south line was descended 
So lowe, that it ne was not to my sight 
Degrees nine and twenty as of hight. 
Foure of the clok it was tho, as I gesse, 
For enleven foot, a litel more or lesse. 
My shadow was at thilke time, as there, 
Of swiche feet as my lengthe parted were 
In six feet equal of proportion, 
Therwith the mones exaltation, 17321 

In mene Libra, alway gan ascende. 
As we were entring at the thorpes ende. 
For which our hoste, as he was wont to gie, 
As in this cas, our jolly compagnie. 
Said in this wise ; lordings, everich on, 
Now lacketh us no tales mo than on. 
Fulfilled is my sentence and my decree ; 
I trowe that we han herd of eche degree. 
Almost fulfilled is myn ordinance ; 17330 




I pray to God so yeve him right good chance, 17331 
That telleth us this tale lustily. 

Sire preest, quod he, art thou a vicary ? 
Or art thou a Person ? say soth by thy fay. 
Be what thou be, ne breke thou not our play ; 
For every man, save thou, hath told his tale. 
Unbokel, and shew us what is in thy male. 
For trewely me thinketh by thy chere, 
Thou shuldest knitte up wel a gret matere. 17339 
Tell us a fable anon, for cockes l)ones. 

This Person him answered al at ones ; 
Thou getest fable non ytold for me, 
For Poule, that writeth unto Timothe, 
Repreveth hem that weiy^n sotbfastnesse, 
And tellen fables, and swiche' wretchednesse. 
Why shuld I sowen draf out of my fist. 
Whan I may sowen wbete, if that me list ? 17347 
For which I say, if that you list to here 
Moralitee, and vertuous matere, 
And than that ye wol yeve me audience, 
I wold ful fain at Cristes reverence 
Don you plesance leful, as. I can. 
But trusteth wel, I am a sotherne man, 
I cannnot geste, rom, ram, ruf, by my letter. 
And, God wpte, rime hold I but litel better. 
And therfore if youlist, I wolnot glose, i7356 



I wol you tell a litel tale in prose, 17357 

To knitte up all this feste, and make an ende : 

And Jesu for his grace wit me sende 

To shewen you the way in this viage 

Of thilke parfit glorious pilgrimage, 

That hight Jerusalem celestial. 

And if ye vouchesauf, anon I shal 

Beginne upon my tale, for which I pray 

Tell your avis, I can no better say. 17365 

But natheles this meditation 
I put it ay under correction 
Of clerkes, for I am not textuel ; 
I take but the sentence, trusteth me wel. 
Therfbre I make a protestation. 
That I wol standen to correction. 

Upon this word we ban assented sone : 
For as us semed, it was for to don, 17373 

Ta'endcn in som vertuous sentence, 
And fdr to yeve him space and' audience ; 
And bade our hoste he shulde to him say, 
That alle we to tell his tale him pray. 

OuV hoste had the wordes for us alle : 
Sire preest, quod he, now faire you befalle ; 
Say what you list, and we shul gladly here. 
And with that word he said in this manere ; 
Telleth, quod he, your meditatioun, i7S82 


But hasteth you, the sonne wol adoun. 
Beth fructuous, and that in litel space, 
And to do wel God sende you his grace. i7383 


Our swete Lord God of heven, that no man wol 
perish, but wol that we comen all to the knowlech- 
ing of him, and to the blissful lif that is pardurable, 
amonesteth us by the Prophet Jeremie, that sayth 
in this wise: Stondeth upon the wayes, and seeth 
andaxeth of the olde pathes ; that is to say, of olde 
sentences ; which is the good way : and walketh in 
that way, and ye shul finde refreshing for your 
soules. Many ben the wayes spirituel that leden 
folk to our Lord Jesu Crist, and to the regne of 
glory : of which wayes, ther is a ful noble way, and 
wel covenable, which may not faille to man ne to 
woman that thurgh sinne hath misgon fro the right 
way of Jerusalem celestial ; and this way is cleped 
penance ; of which man shuld gladly herken and 
enqueren with all his herte, to wete, what is pen- 
ance, and whennes it is cleped penance, and how 
many maneres ben of actions or werkings of pe- 
nance, and how many spices ther ben of penance. 


and which thinges apperteinen and behoven to pen- 
ance, and which thinges distroublen penance. 

Seint Ambrose sayth. That penance is the plain- 
ing of man for the gilt that he hath don, and no 
more to do any thing for which him ought to plaine. 
And som doctour sayth : Penance is the wayment- 
ing of man that sorweth for his sinne, and peineth 
himself, for he hath misdon. Penance, with cer- 
tain circumstances, is veray repentance of man, that 
holdeth himself in sorwe and other peine for his 
giltes : and for he shal be veray penitent, he shal 
first bewailen the sinnes that he hath don, and sted- 
fastly purposen in his herte to have shrift of mouth, 
and to don satisfaction, and never to don thing, for 
which him ought more to bewayle or complaine, 
and to continue in good werkes : or elles his re- 
pentance may not availe. For as Seint Isidor sath ; 
he is a japer and a gabber, and not veray repen- 
tant, that eftsones doth thing, for which him oweth 
to repent. Weping, and not for to stint to do sinne, 
may not availe. But natheles, men shuld hope, 
that at every time that man falleth, be it never so 
oft, that he may arise thurgh penance, if he have 
grace : but certain, it is gret doute. For as saith 
Seint Gregorie ; unnethes ariseth he out of sinne,. 
that is charged with the charge of evil usage. And. 


therfore repentant folk, that stint for to sinne, and 
forlete sinne or that sinne forlete hem, holy chirche 
holdeth hem slker of hir salvation. And he that 
sinneth, and veraily repenteth him in his last day, 
holy chirche yet hopeth his salvation, by the grete 
mercy of our Lord Jesu Crist, for his repentance : 
but take ye the siker and certain way. 

And now sith I have declared you, what thing is 
penance, now ye shul understond, that ther ben 
three actions of penance. The first is, that a man 
be baptised after that he hath sinned. Seint Au- 
gustine sayth ; but he be penitent for his old sin- 
ful lif, he may not beginne the newe clene lif : for 
certes, if he be baptised without penitence of his 
old gilt, he receiveth the marke of baptisme, but not 
the grace, ne the remission of his sinnes, til he have 
yeray repentance. Another defaute is, that men 
don dedly sinne after that they have received bap- 
tisme. The thridde defaute is, that men fall in 
venial sinne^ .after hir baptisme, fro day to day. 
Therof sayth Seint Augustine, that penance of good 
and humble folk is the penance of every day. 

The spices of penance ben three. That on of 
hem is solempne^ another is commune, and the 
thridde privee. Thilke penance, that is solempne, 
is in tw<^ maneres : as to be put out of holy chirche 


m lenton, for slaughter of children, and swiche 
maner thing. Another is whan a man hath sinned 
openly, of which sinne the fame is openly spoken in 
the contree : and than holy chirche by jugement 
distreyneth him for to do open. penance. Commun 
penance is, that preestes enjoinen men in certain 
cas : as for to go paraventure naked on pilgrimage, 
or bare foot. Privee penance is thilke, that men 
don all day for privee sinnes, of which we shrive us 
prively, and receive privee penance. 

Now shalt thou understond what is behoveful and 
necessary to every parfit penance : and this stont 
on three thinges; contrition of herte, confession of 
ifiouth, and satisfaction. For which sayth Seint 
John Chrisostome: penance distreineth a man to 
accept benignely every peine, that him is enjoined, 
with contrition of herte, and shrift of mouth, with 
satisfaction, and werking of all .maner humilitee. 
And thifjs fruitful penance ayenst tho three thinges, 
in which we wrathen our Lord Jesu Crist: this is 
to say, by delit in thinking, by rechelesnesse in 
speking, and by wicked sinful werking. And ayenst 
these wicked giltes is penance, that may be likened 
unto a tree. 

The rote of this tree is contrition, that hideth 
him in the herte of him that is veray repentant. 


right as the rote of the tree hideth him in the erthe. 
Of this rote of contrition springeth a stalke, that 
bereth branches and leves of confession, and fruit 
of satisfaction. Of which Crist sayth in his gos- 
pel I ; doth ye digne fruit of penitence ; for by this 
fruit mow men understonde and knowe this tree, 
and not by the rote that is hid in the herte of man , 
ne by the branches, ne the leves of confession. 
And therfore our Lord Jesu Crist saith thus ; by 
the fruit of hem shal ye knowe hem. Of this rote 
also springeth a seed of grace, which seed is moder 
of sikernesse, and this seed is eger and bote. The 
grace of this seed springeth of God, thurgh remem- 
brance on the day of dome, and on the peines of 
helle. Of this matere saith Salomon, that in the 
drede of God man forletlteth his sinne. The hete 
of this sede is the love of God, and the desiring of 
the joye perdurable. This hete draweth the herte 
of man to God, and doth him hate his sinne. For 
sothly, ther is nothing that savoureth so sote to a 
child, as the milke of his norice, ne nothing is to 
him more abhominable than that milke, whan it is 
medled with other mete. Right so the sinful man 
that loveth his sinne, him semeth, that it is to him 
most swete of any thing ; but fro that time that he 
loveth sadly our Lord Jesu Crist, and desireth the 


lif perdurable, ther is to him nothing more abhomi- 
nable. For sothly the lawe of God is the love of 
God. For which David the prophet sayth ; I have 
loved thy lawe, and hated wickednesse : he that 
loveth God, kepeth his lawe and his word. This 
tree saw the prophet Daniel in spirit, upon the vi- 
sion of Nabuchodonosor, whan he counseiled him 
to do penance. Penance is the tree of lif, to hem 
that it receiven : and he that holdeth him in veray 
penance, is blisful, after the sentence of Salomon. 

In this penance or contrition man shal under- 
stond foure thinges ; that is to say, what is contri- 
tion ; and which ben the causes that moven a man 
to contrition ; and how he shuld be contrite ; and 
what contrition availeth to the soule. Than is it 
thus, that contrition is the veray sorwe that a man 
receiveth in his herte for his sinnes, with sad 
purpos to shriven him, and to do penance, and 
never more to don sinne. And this sorwe shal be 
in this maner, as sayth Seint Bernard ; it shal ben 
he^'y and grevous, and ful sharpe and poinant in 
herte ; first, for a man hath agilted his Lord and 
his creatour ; and more sharpe and poinant, for he 
hath agilted his father celestial; and yet more 
sharpe and poinant, for he hath wrathed and agilt- 
ed him that boughte him, that with his precious 


blod hath delivered us fro the bondes of sinne, and 
fro the crueltee of the devil, and fro the peines of 

The causes that ought' to meve a man to contri- 
tion ben sixe. First, a man shal remembre him of 
his sinnes. But loke that that remembrance ne be 
to him no delit, by no way, but grete. shame and 
sorwe for his sinnes. For Job sayth, sinful men 
don werkes worthy of confession. And therfore 
sayth Ezechiel ; I wol remembre me all the yeres 
of my lif, in the bitternesse of my herte. And God 
sayth in the Apocalipse; remembre you fro when s 
that ye ben fall, for before the time that ye sinned, 
ye weren children of God, and limmes of the regne of 
God ; but for your sinne ye ben waxen thral and 
foule ; membres of the fende ; hate of angels ; 
sclaunder of holy chirche, and fode of the false 
serpent ; perpetuel matere of the fire of helle ; and 
yet more foule and abhominable, for ye trespassen 
so oft times, as doth the hound that torneth again 
to ete his owen spewing ; and yet fouler, for your 
long continuing in sinne, and your sinful usage, for 
which ye be roten in your 'sinnes, as a beest in his 
donge. Swicl^e manere thoughtes make a man to 
have shame of his sinne, and no deHt ; as God 
s^ith, by the Prophet Ezechiel ; ye shul remembre 


you of your wayes^ and they shul displese you* 
Sothly, sinnes ben the waies that lede folk to hell. 

The second cause that ought to make a man 'to 
have disdeigne of sinne is this, that, as saith Seint 
Peter, who so doth sinne, is thral to sinne, and 
sinne putteth a man in gvet thraldom. And ther- 
fore sayth the Prophet Ezechiel ; I went s(Srweful, 
and had disdeigne of myself. Certes, wel ought a 
man have disdeigne of sinne, and withdrawe him fro 
that thraldom and vilany. And lo, what sayth Seneke 
in this mater. He saith thus; though I wist, that 
neither God ne man shuld never know it, yet wold 
I have disdeigne for to do sinne. And the same 
Seneke also sayth: I am borne to greter thinges, 
than to be thral to my body, or for to make of my 
body a thral. Ne a fouler thral may no man, ne 
woman, make of his body, than for to yeve his body 
to sinne. Al were it the foulest chorle, or the foul- 
est woman that liveth, and lest of value, yet is he 
than more foule, and more in servitude. Ever fro- 
the higher degree that man falleth, the more is he 
thral, and more to God and to the world vile and 
abhominable. O good God, wel ought a man have 
disdeigne of sinne, sith that thurgh sinne, ther he 
was free^ he is made bond. And therfore sayth Seint 
Augustine : if thou hast disdeigne of thy servant^ if 


he offend or sinne, have thou than disdeigne, that 
thou thy self shuldest do sinne. Take reward of 
thin owen value, that thou ne be to foule to thyself. 
Alas ! wel oughten they than have disdeigne to be 
servants and thralles to sinne, and sore to be ashamed 
of hemself, that God of his endles goodnesse hath 
sette in high estat, or yeve hem witte, strength of 
body, hele, beautee, or prosperitee, and bought hem 
fro the deth with his herte blood, that they so un- 
kindly agains his gentillesse, quiten him so vilainsly, 
to slaughter of hir owen soules. O good God ! ye 
women that ben of gret beautee, remembreth you on 
the proverbe of Salomon, that likeneth a faire wo- 
man, that is a fool of hire body, to a ring of gold 
that is worne in the groine of a sowe; for right as a 
sowe wroteth in every ordure, so wroteth she hire 
beautee in stinking ordure of sinne. 

The thridde cause, that ought to meve a man to 
contrition, is drede of the day of dome, and of the 
horrible peines of helle. For as Seint Jerome sayth : 
at every time that me remembreth of the day of 
dome, I quake : for whan I ete or drinke, or do 
what so I do, ever semeth me that the trompe 
sowneth in min eres : riseth ye up that ben ded, and 
Cometh to the jugement. O good God ! moche 
ought a man to drede swiche a jugement, ther as 


we shul be alle, as Seint Poule sayth, before the 
strait jugement of oure Lord Jesu Crist; wheras he 
shal make a general congregation, wheras no man 
may be absent ; for certes ther availeth non essoine 
ne non excusation ; and not only, that our defautes 
shul be juged, but eke that all our werkes shul 
openly be knowen. And, as sayth Seint Bernard, 
ther ne shal no pleting availe, ne no sleight: we 
shal yeve rekening of everich idle word, Ther shal 
we have a juge that may not be deceived ne cor- 
rupt; and why? for certes, all our thoughtes ben 
discovered, as to him : ne for prayer, ne for mede, 
he wil not be corrupt. And therfore saith Salomon: 
the wrath of God ne wol not spare no wight, for 
prayer ne for yeft. And therfore at the day of dome 
ther is non hope to escape. Wherfore, as sayth 
Seint Anselme, ful gret anguish shal the sinful folk 
have at that time : ther shal be the sterne and wroth 
juge sitting above, and under him the horrible pitte 
of helie open, to destroy him that wolde not be- 
knowen his sinnes, which sinnes shullen openly be 
shewed before God and before every creature : and 
on the left side, mo Divels than any herte may 
thinke, for to hary and drawe the sinful soules to 
the pitte of helle: and within the hertes of folk shal 
be the biting conscience; and without forth shal be 


the world all brenning. Whither than shall the 
wretched soule flee to hide him ? Certes he may not 
hide him, he must come forth and shewe him. For 
certeSy as saith Seint Jerome, the erth shal cast 
him out of it, and the see, and also the aire, that 
shal be ful of thonder clappes and lightnings. Now 
sothly, who so wil remembre him of these thinges, 
I gesse that his sinnes shal not torne him to delit, 
but to grete sorwe, for drede of the peine of helle. 
And therfore saith Job to God : suffer, Lord, that 
I may a while bewaile and bewepe, or I go without 
retoming to the derke londe, ycovered with the 
derkenesse of deth ; to the londe of misese and of 
derkenesse, wheras is the shadowe of deth ; wher 
as is non ordre ne ordinance, but grisly drede that 
ever shal last. Lo, here may you see, that Job 
prayed respite a while, to bewepe and waile his 
trespas : for sothely on day of respite is better than 
all the tresour of this world. And for as moche as 
a man 'may acquite himself before God by penitence 
in this world, and not by tresour, therfore shuld he 
pray to God to yeve him respite a while, to bewe- 
pen and bewailen his trespas : for certes, all the 
sorwe that a man might make fro the beginning of 
the world, n'is but a litel thing, at regard of the 
sorwe of helle. The cause why that Job clepeth 


helle the londe of derkenesse; uitderstondeth', that 
he clepeth it londe or erth, for it is stable and never 
shal faile ; and derke, for he that is in helle hath 
defaute of light naturel ; for certes the derke light, 
that dhal <:;ome out of the fire that ever shal 
brenn'e, shall torne hem all to peine that be in 
helle, for it sheweth hem the horrible Divels 
that hem tuiinenten. Covered with the derke- 
nesse of deth ; that is tb gay, that he that is in 
helle, shal have defaute of the sight of Gdd; 
for certes the sight of God is the lif perdurable. 
The derknesse of deth, ben the siniies that the 
wretched man hath don, which that distroubleh him 
to see the face of God, right as a derke cloud be- 
twene us and the sonne. It is londe of misese, be- 
cause that ther ben three maner of defautes ayenst 
three thinges that folk of this worM ban in this 
present lif ; that is to say, hondures, d^ites, and 
richesses. Ayenst honour have they in helle shame 
and confusion : for wel ye wote, that men clepen 
honour the reverence that man doth to tnan ; but 
in helle is non honour ne reverence ; for certes no 
more reverence shal be don ther to a king, than to 
a knave. For which God sayth by the Prophet 
Jeremie ; the folk, that me despisen, shal be in de- 
spite. Honour is also cleped gret lordeship. Ther 


sfaal no wight serven other, but of harme and tur- 
ment. Honour is also cleped gret dignitee and 
highnesse ; but in belle shal they be alle fortroden 
of divels. As God saith ; the horrible Divels shul 
gon and comen upon the hedes of dampned folk : 
and this is^ for as moche as the higher that they 
were in this present lif, the more shul they be abated 
and defouled in helle. Ayenst the richesse of this 
world shul they have misese of poverte, and this po- 
yerte shal be in foure thinges : in defaute of tres- 
our ; of which David sayth ; the riche folk that en- 
braceden and oneden all hir herte to tresour of this 
world, shul slepe in the sleping of deth, and no- 
thing ne shul they find in hir hondes of all hir tres- 
our. And moreover, the misese of helle shal be in 
defaute of mete and drink. For God sayth thus by 
Moyses : tliey shul be wasted with honger, and the 
briddes of helle shul devoure hem with bitter deth, 
and the gall of the dragon shal ben hir drinke, and 
the venime of the dragon hir morsels. And further 
over hir misese shal be in defaute of clothing, for 
they shul be naked in body, as of clothing, save the 
fire in which they brenne, and other filthes ; and 
naked shul they they be in soule, of all maner ver- 
tues, which that is the clothing of the soule. Wher 
ben than the gay robes, the softe shetes, and the 


fyn shertes ? Lo, what sayth God of beven by the 
Prophet Esaie, that under hem sbul be strewed 
mothes, and hir covertures shul ben of wormes of 
helle. And further over hir misese shal be in de» 
faute of frendesy for he is not poure that hath good 
frendes : but ther is no frend ; for neither God ne 
no good creature shal be frend to hem, and everich 
of hem shal hate other with dedly hate. The sonnes 
and the doughters shal rebel, ay enst father and mo- 
ther, and kinred ayenst kinred, and chiden, and 
despisen eche other, both day and night, as God 
sayth by the Prophet Micheas. And the loving 
children, that whilom loveden so fleshly, everich of 
hem wold eten other if they might. For how shuld 
they love togeder in the peines of helle, whan they 
hated eche other in the prosperitee of this lif ? For 
truste wel, hir fleshly love was dedly hate. As saith 
the Prophet David : who so that loveth wicked- 
nesse, he hateth his owen soule, and who so hateth 
his owen soule, certes he may love non other wight 
in no manere : and therfore in helle is no solace ne 
^0 frendship, but ever the more kinredes that ben 
in helle, the more cursing, the more chiding, and 
the more dedly hate ther is among hem. And fur- 
ther over, ther they shul have defaute of all maner 
^elites, for certes delites ben after the appetites of 

VOL. IV. c 


the five wittes ; as sight, hering, smelling, savour- 
ing, and touching. But in helle hir sight shal be 
ful of derkenesse and of smoke, and hir eyen ful of 
teres ; and hir hering ful of waimenting and grint- 


ing of teeth, as sayth Jesu Crist : hir nosethirles 
shul be ful of stinking ; and, as saith Esay the Pro- 
phet, hir savouring shal be ful of bitter galle ; and 
touching of all hir body, shal be covered with fire 
that never shal quenche, and with wormes that 
never shal die, as God sayth by the mouth of Esay. 
And for as moche as they shal not wene that they 
mow dien for peine, and by deth flee fro peine, that 
mow they understonde in the word of Job, that 
sayth; Ther is the shadow of deth. Certes a 
shadowe hath likenesse of the thing of which it is 
shadowed, but shadowe is not the same thing of 
which it is shadowed : right so fareth the peine of 
helle ; it is like deth, for the horrible anguish ; and 
why ? for it peineth hem ever as though they shuld 
die anon ; but certes they shul not dien. For as 
sayth Seint Gregory ; To wretched caitifes shal be 
deth withouten deth, and ende withouten ende, and 
defaute withouten failing ; for hir deth shal alway 
live, and hir ende shal ever more beginne, and hir 
defaute shal never faile. And theifore sayth Seint 
John the Evangelist; They shul folow deth, and 


they shul not findehim, and they shul desire to die, 
and deth shal flee from hem. And eke Job saith, 
that in helle is non ordre of rule. And al be it so, 
that God hath create all thing in right ordre, and 
nothing withouten ordre, but all thinges ben ordred 
and nombred, yet natheles they that ben dampned 
ben nothing in ordre, ne hold non ordre. For the 
erth shal here hem no fruite ; (for, as the Prophet 
David sayeth, God shal destroy the fruite of the 
erth, as fro hem) ne water shal yeve hem no mois- 
ture, ne the aire nO refreshing, ne the flre no light. 
For as sayth Seint Basil ; The brenning of the fire 
of this world shal God yeve in helle to hem that 
ben dampned, but the light and the clerenesse shal 
be yeve in heven to his children ; right as the good 
man yeveth flesh to his children, and bones to his 
houndes. And for they shul have non hope to 
escape, sayth -Job at last, that ther shal horrour and 
grisly drede dwellen withouten ende. Horrour is 
alway drede of harme that is to come, and this 
drede shal alway dwell in the hertes of hem that 
ben dampned. And therfore han they lorne all hir 
hope for seven causes. First, for God that is hir 
juge shal be withouten mercie to hem ; and they 
may not plese him ; ne non of his halwes ,• ne they 
may yeve nothing for hir raunsom ; ne they have 


no vois to speke to him ; ne they may not flee fro 
peine ; ne they have no goodnesse in hem that they 
may shew to deliver hem fro peine. And therfore 
sayth Salomon ; The wicked man dieth, and whan 
he is ded, he shal have non hope to escape fro 
peine. Who so than wold wel under stonde these 
peines, and bethinke him wel that he hath deserved 
these peines for his sinnes, certes he shulde have 
more talent to sighen and to wepe, than for to singe 
and playe. For as sayth Salomon ; Who so that 
had the science to know the. peines that ben es- 
tablished and ordeined for sinne, he wold forsake 
sinne. That science, saith Seint Austin, maketh a 
man to waimenten in his herte. 

The fourthe point, that oughte make a man have 
contrition, is the sorweful remembrance of the good 
dedes that he hath lefte to don here in erthe, and 
also the good that he hath lorne. Sothly the good 
werkes that he hath lefte, either they be the good 
werkes that he wrought er he fell into dedly sinne, 
or elles the good werkes that he wrought while he 
lay in sinne. Sothly the good werkes that he did 
before that he fell in dedly sinne, ben ail mortified, 
astoned, and dulled by the eft sinning : the other 
werkes that he wrought while he lay in sinne, they 
ben utterly ded, as to the lif perdurable in heven. 


Than thilke good werked that ben mortified by eft 
sinning, which he did while he was in charitee, 
moun never quicken ayen without veray penitence* 
And therof sayth God by the mouth of Ezechiel ; if 
the rightful man retorne again fro his rightwisnesse 
and do wickednesse, shal he liven ? nay ; for all the 
good werkes that he hath wrought, shul never be in 
remembrance, for he shal die in his sinne. And 
upon thilke chapitre sayth Seint Gregorie thus ;. 
that we shai understonde this principally, that when 
we don dedly sinne, it is for nought than to remem- 
bre or drawe into memorie the good werkes that we 
have wrought beforn : for certes in the werking of 
dedly sinne ther is no trust in no good werk that we 
have don beforn; that is to say, as for to have 
therby the lif perdurable in heven. But natheles, 
jthe good werkes quicken again and comen again, 
and helpe and availe to have the lif perdurable in 
heven, whan we have contrition: but sothly the 
good werkes that men don while they ben in dedly 
sinne^ for as moche as they were don in dedly 
sinne, they may never quicken: for certes, thing 
that never had lif, may never quicken : and natheles, 
al be it so that they availen not to have the lif per- 
durable, yet availen they to abreggen the peine of 
belle, or elles to got temporal richesses, or ellea 


that God wol the rather eDlumine or light the herte 
of the sinful man to have repentance ; and eke they 
availen for to usen a man to do good werkes^ that 
the fende have the lesse power of his soule. And 
thus the cartels Lord Jesu Crist ne woll that no 
good werk that men don be loste^ for in somwhat it 
shal availe. But for as moche as the good werkes 
that men don while they ben in good lif, ben all 
amortised by sinne folowing, and eke sith all the 
good werkes that men don while they ben in dedly 
sinnCi ben utterly ded, as for to have the Uf 
perdurable, wel may that man, that no good werk 
ne doth, sing thilke newe Frenshe song, J^ay tout 
perdu mon ternpSf et mon labour. For certes sinne be- 
revcth a man both goodnesse of nature, and eke the 
goodnesse of grace. For sothly the grace of the 
holy gost fareth hke fire that may not ben idle ; but 
fire faileth anon as it forletteth his werking, and 
right so grace faileth anon as it forletteth his work- 
ing. Than leseth the sinful man the goodnesse of 
glorie, that only is hight to good men that labouren 
and werken wel. Wel may he be sory than, that 
oweth all his lif to God, as long as he hath lived, 
and also as long as he shal live, that no goodnesse 
ne hath to paie with his dette to God, to whom he 
oweth all his lif : for trust wel he shal yeve ac- 


comptes, as sayth Seint Bernard, of all the goodes 
that han ben yeven him in this present lif, and how 
he hath hem dispended, in so moche that ther shal 
not perishe an here of his hed, ne a moment of an 
houre ne shal not perishe of his time, that he ne 
thai yeve therof a rekening. 

The fifthe thing, that ought to meve a man to con- 
trition, is remembrance of the passion that our Lord 
Jesu Crist suffered for our sinnes. For as sayth 
Seint Bernard, While that I live, I shal have re- 
membrance of the travailes that our Lord Jesu Crist 
suffered in preching, his werinesse in traveling, his 
temptations whan he fasted, his long wakinges 
whan he prayed, his teres whan he wept for pi tee of 
good peple : the wo and the shame, and the filthe 
that men sayden to him : of the foule spitting that 
men spitten in his face, of the bufFettes that men 
yave him : of the foule mouthes and of the foule re- 
preves that men saiden to him : of the nayles with 
which be was nailed to the crosse ; and of all the 
remenant of his passion, that he sufTred for mannes 
sinne^ and nothing for his gilte. And here ye shul 
understand that in mannes sinne is every maner or- 
der, or ordinance, tourned up so doun. For it is 
soth, that God and reson, and sensualitee, and the 
body of man, ben ordained, that everich of thise 


foure thinges shuld have lordship over that other : 
as thus ; God shuld have lordship over reson, and 
resonover sensualitee, and sensualitee over the body 
of man. But sothly whan man sinneth, all this or- 
dre, or ordinance, is turned up so doun ; and ther- 
fore than, for as moche as reson of man ne wol not 
be subget ne obeisant to God, that is his lord by 
right, therfore leseth it the lordship that it shuld 
have over sensualitee, and eke over the body of man ; 
and why ? for sensualitee rebelleth than ayenst re- 
son : and by that way leseth reson the lordship over 
sensualitee, and over the body. For right as reson 
is rebel to God, right so is sensualitee rebel to re- 
son, and the body also. And certes this disordi- 
nance, and this rebellion, our Lord Jesu Crist 
abought upon his precious body ful dere : and her- 
keneth in whiche wise. For as moche as reson is 
rebel to God, therfore is man worthy to have sorwe 
and to be ded. This sufired our Lord Jesu Crist for 
man, after that he had be betraied of his disciple* 
and distreined and bounde, so that his blood brast 
out at every nail of his hondes, as saith Seint Au- 
gusUn. And ferthermore, for as moche as resen of 
man wol not daunt sensualitee whan it may, ther- 
fore is man worthy to have shame : and this suffered 
our Lord Jesu Crist for man, whan they spitten in 


his visage. And fertherover, for as moche as the 
caitif body of man is rebel both to reson and to sen-* 
sualitee, therfore it is worthy the deth : and this 
suffered our Lord Jesu Crist upon the crosse, wher- 
as ther was no part of his body free^ without grete 
peine and bitter passion. And all this suffred our 
Lord Jesu Crist that never forfaited ; and thus sayd 
he : To mochel am I peined, for thinges that I never, 
deserved : and to moche defouled for shendship that 
man is worthy to have. And therfore may the sin- 
ful man wel say, as sayth Seint Bernard : Accursed 
be the bitternesse of my sinne^ for whiche ther must 
be suffered so moche bitternesse. For certes, after 
the divers discordance of our wickednesse was the 
passion of Jesu Crist ordeined in divers thinges ; as 
thus. Certes sinful mannes soule is betraied of the 
divel, by coveitise of temporel prosperitee ; and- 
scorned by disceite^ whan he cheseth fleshly delites ; 
and yet it is turmented by in^atience of adversitee^ 
and bespet by servage and subjection of sinne; and 
at the last it is slain finally. For this discordance 
of sinful man^ was Jesu Crist first betraied; and 
after that was he bounde, that came for to unbinde 
us of sinne and of peine. Than was he bescornedi 
^at only shuld have ben honoured in alle thinges 
and of alle thinges. Than was his visage, that 


ought to be desired to be seen of all mankind (in 
which visage angels desiren to loke) vilainsly bes- 
pet. Than was he scourged that nothing had tres- 
passed ; and finally, than was he crucified and slain* 
Than were accomplished the wordes of Esaie : He 
was wounded for our misdedes, and defouled for 
our felonies. Now sith that Jesu Crist toke on him- 
self the peine of all our wickednesses, moche ought 
sinful man to wepe and to bewaile, that for his sin- 
nes Goddes sone of heven shuld all this peine en- 

The sixte thing, that shuld move a man to con- 
trition, is the hope of three thinges, that is to say, 
foryevenesse of sinne, and the yeft of grace for to 
do wel, and the glorie of heven, with whiche God 
shal guerdon man for his good dedes. And for as 
moche as Jesu Crist yeveth us thise yeftes of his 
largenesse, and of his soveraine bountee, therfore is 
he cleped, Jestis Nazarenus Rex Judaorum, Jesus 
is for to say, saviour or salvation, on whom men 
shul hopen to have foryevenesse of sinnes, which 
that is proprely salvation of sinnes. And therfore 
toyd the Angel to Joseph, Thou shalt clepe his name 
Jesus, that shal saven his peple of hir sinnes. And 
hereof saith Seint Peter ; Ther is non other name 
under heven, that is yeven to any man, by which a 


man may be saved, but only Jesus. Nazarenus is 
as moche for to say, as flourishing, in which a man 
shal hope, that he, that yeveth him remission of 
sinnes, shal yeve him also grace wel for to do : for 
in the flour is hope of fruit in time coming, and in 
foryevenesse of sinnes hope of grace wel to do. I 
was at the dore of thin herte, sayth Jesus, and cleped 
for to enter. He that openeth to me, shal have 
foryevenesse of his sinnes, and I wol enter into him 
by my grace, and soupe with him by the good 
werkes that he shal don, which werkes ben the food 
of God, and he shal soupe with me by the gret joye 
that I shal yeve him. Thus shal man hope, that for 
his werkes of penance God shal yeve him his regne, 
as he behight him in the Gospel. 

Now shal man understande, in which maner shal 
be -his contrition. I say, that it shal be universal 
and total ; this is to say, a man shal be veray re- 
pentant for all his sinnes, that he hath done in de- 
lite of his thought, for delite is perilous. For ther 
ben two maner of consentinges ; that on of hem is 
cleped consenting of affection, whan a man is me- 
ved to do sinne, and than deliteth him longe for to 
thinke on that sinne, and his reson apperceiveth it 
wel^ that it is sinne ayenst the lawe of God, and yet 
his reson refraineth not his foule delite or talent, 

28 TU£ P£&SOM£S TALE. 

though he see wel apertly, that it is ayenst the reve' 
rence of God; although his reson consent not to 
do that sinne indede, yet sayn som doc tours, that 
swiche delite that dwelleth longe is ful perilous, al 
be it never so lite. And also a man shuld sorow^ 
namely for all that ever he hath desired ayenst the 
lawe of God, with parfite consenting of his reson, 
for therof is no doute, that it is dedly sinne in con- 
senting : for certes ther is no dedly sinne, but that 
it is first in mannes thought, and after that in his 
delite, and so forth into consenting, and into dede. 
Wherfore I say, that many men ne repent hem 
never of swiche thoughtes and delites, ne never 
shriven hem of it, but only of the dede of gret sinnes 
outward : wherfore I say, that swiche wicked de- 
lites ben subtil begilers of hem that shul be dampned. 
Moreover man ought to sorwen for his wicked 
wordes, as wel as for his wicked dedes : for certes 
repentance of a singuler sinne, and not repentant 
of all his other sinnes ; or elles repenting him of all 
his other sinnes, and not of a singuler sinne, may 
not availe. For certes God Almighty is all good ; 
and therfore, either he foryeveth all, or elles right 
Dought. And therfore sayth Seint Aug^stin; I 
wote certainly, that God is enemy to every siniier : 
and how than ? he that observeth on sinn^, shal he 


baye foryevenesse of the remenant of bis otber 
sinnes? Nay. And furtberover contritioa sbuld be 
wonder sorweful and anguisbous : and therfore 
yeyetb bim God plainly bis mercie: and tberfore 
wban my soule was anguisbous, and sorweful 
witbin me, tban had I remembrance of God, that 
my praier might come to bim. Furtberover contri- 
tion muste be continuel, and that man have sted- 
fast purpose to shrive him, and to amend him of bis 
lif. For sotbly, while contrition lastetb, man may 
ever hope to have foryevenesse. And of this co- 
meth bate of sinne, that destroyeth sinne bothe in 
himself, and eke in otber folk at his power. For 
which sayth David ; they that lov^ God, bate wick- 
ednesse: for to love God, is for to love that he 
loyetb, and bate that he bateth. 

The last thing that men shuU understand in con- 
trition is this, wherof avaiieth contrition. I say, 
that contrition somtime deUvereth man fro sinne : 
of which David saith ; I say, (quod David) I pur- 
posed- fermely to shrive me, and thou Lord re- 
lesedest my sinne. And right so as contrition 
avaiieth not without sad purpos of shrift and satis- 
faction, right so litel worth is shrift or satisfaction 
witbouten contrition. And moreover contrition de- 
'Stroyett the prison of belle, and maketh weke and 


feble all the stxengthes of the Devils, and restoreth 
the. yeftes of the holy gost, and of all good yertues, 
and it clenseth the soule of sinne, and delivereth it 
fro the peine of helle, and fro the compaignie of the 
Devil y and fro the servage of sinne, and restoreth it 
to all goodes spirituel, and to the compagnie and 
communion of holy chir^he. And futherover it 
ibaketh him, that whilom was sone of ire, to be the 
sone of grace : and all these thinges ben preved by 
holy writ. And therfore he that wold set his en- 
tent to thise thinges, he were ful wise : for sothly 
he ne shuld have than in all his lif corage to sinne, 
but yeve his herte and body to the service of Jesu 
Crist, and therof do him homage. For certes our 
Lord Jesu Crist hath spared us so benignely in our 
folies, that if he ne had pitee on mannes soule, a 
sory song might we alle singe. 

Explicit prima pars penitentia ; et incipit pars 


The second part of penitence is confession, and 
that is signe of contrition. Now shul ye under* 
stonde what is confession; and whether it ought 
nedes to be don or non : and which thinges ben 
convenable to veray confession. 

First shalt thou understande, that confession is 


yeray shewing of sinnes to the preest; this is to 
saie yeray, for he must confesse him of all the con- 
ditions that belongen to his sinne, as ferforth as he 
can : all must be sayd, and nothing excused, ne 
hid, ne forwrapped: and not avaunt him of his 
good werkes. Also it is necessarie to understande 
whennes that sinnes springen, and how they encre- 
sen, and which they ben. 

Of springing of sinnes saith Seint Poule in this 
wise : that right as by on man sinne enti'ed first 
into this worlds and thurgh sinne deth, right so 
deth entreth into alle men that sinnen: and this 
man was Adam, by whom sinne entred into this 
world, whan he brake the commandement of God. 
And therfore he that first was so mighty, that he^^ne 
shuld have died, became swiche on that he must 
nedes die, whether he wold or no ; and all his pro- 
genie in this world, that in thilke maner sinnen, 
dien, Loke that in the estate of innocence, whan 
Adam and Eve weren naked in paradise, and no 
thing ne hadden shame of hir nakednesse, how that 
the serpent, that was most wily of all other bestes 
that God had made, sayd to the woman : why 
commanded God you, that ye shuld not ete of every 
tree in Paradise? The woman answered: of the 
fruit, sayd she, of the trees of Paradise we feden us. 


but of the fruit of the tree that is in the middel of 
Paradise God forbode us for to eten, ne to touche 
it, lest we shuld die. The serpent sayd to the wo- 
man : nay, nay, ye shul not dien of deth ; for soth 
God wote, that what day that ye ete therof your 
eyeh shul open, and ye shul be as goddes, knowing 
good and harme. The woman saw that the tree 
was good to feding, and faire to the eyen, and de- 
lectable to the sight; she toke of the fruit of the 
tree and did ete, and yave to hire husbond, and he 
ete ; and anon the eyen of hem both opened : and 
whan they knewe that they were naked, they sowed 
of a fig-tree leves in maner of breches, to hiden 
hir members. Here mow ye seen, that dedly sinne 
hath first suggestion of the fende, as sheweth here 
by the adder ; and afterward the delit of the flesh, 
as sheweth here by Eve ; and after that the con- 
senting of reson, as sheweth by Adam. For trust 
wel, though so it were, that the fende tempted Eve, 
that is to say, the flesh, and the flesh had delit in 
the beautee of the fruit defended, yet certes til that 
reson, that is to say, Adam, consented to the eting 
of the fruit, yet stode he in the state of innocence. 
Of thilke Adam toke we thilke sinne original; from 
him fleshly discended be we all, and engendred of 
vile and corrupt mater :' and whan the soule is put 


in our bodies^ right anon is contract original sinne ; 
and that, that was erst but only peine of concupis- 
cence, is afterward both peine and sinne : and 
therfore we ben all yborne sones of wrath, and of 
dampnation perdurable^ if ne were Baptisme that 
we receive, which benimeth us the culpe : but for- 
soth the peine dwelleth with us as to temptation, 
which peine hight concupiscence. This concupis- 
cence, whan it is wrongfully disposed or ordeined 
in man, it maketh him coveit, by coveitise of flesh, 
fleshly sinne by sight of his eyen, as to erthly 
thinges, and also coveitise of highnesse by pride of 

Now as to speke of the first coveitise, that is 
concupiscence, after the lawe of our membres, that 
were lawfully ymaked, and by rightful jugement of 
Ood, I say, for as moche as a man is not obei- 
^ant to God, that is his Lord, therfore is his herte 
to bim disobeisant thurgh concupiscence, which is 
called nourishing of sinne, and occasion of sinne. 
Therfore, all the while that a man hath within him 
the peine of concupiscence, it is impossible, but he 
be tempted somtime, and moved in his flesh to sinne. 
And this thing may not faile, as long as he liveth. 
It may wel waxe feble by vertue of Baptisme, and 
by the grace of God thurgh penitence ; but fully 

vol. IV, D 



ne tthal it never quenche, that he ne shal somtiDie 
be meved in himselfe, but if he were refreined by 
sikenesse, or malefice of sorcerie, or cold drinkes* 
For loy what sayth Seint Poule : the flesh coyehedi 
ayenst the spirit, and the spirit ayenst the flesh: 
they ben so contrarie and so striven, that a maxk may 
not alway do as he wold. The same Seii^ Peule, 
after his gret penance, in water and in lond; in 
water by night and by day, ia gfet peril, and ingret 
peine; in lond, in grete famine and thursC, coM 
and clothles, and ones stoned almost ta dedx ; J^ 
sayd he, alas ! I cajtaf mam, who shal deUver me fro 
the prison of my caitif body? And Seint JeroiB; 
whan belong tinie had dwelled in desert, wheras 
he had no compagnie but of wilde bestes ; wh«r as 
he had no mete but herbes, and water to his drinkc, 
ne no bed but the naked ertb, wherfore his flesh 
was black, as an Ethiopian, for bete, and me de- 
stroyed for cold : yeJt sayd he, that the brenning of 
lecherie boiled in all his body. Wherfore 1 wot 
wel sikerly that they be deceived that say, they be 
not tempted in hir bodies. Witnesse Seint James 1 
that said, that every wight is tempted in his owen 
conscience ; that is to say, that eche of us hath 
mater and occasion^ to be tempted ef the norishing 
of sinne, that is in his body. And thetfore sayth 


Seint John the Evangelist : if we say that we ben 
without sinne, we deceive ourself, and truth is not 
in us. 

Now shul ye understonde, in what maner sinne 
wexeth and encreseth in man. The first thing is 
.that nourishing of sinne, of which I spake before, 
that is concupiscence : and after that cometh sug- 
gestion of the divel, this is to say, the divels belous, 
.with which he bloweth in man the fire of concu- 
piscence: and after that a man bethinketh him, 
whether he wol do or no that thing to which he is 
tempted. And than if a man withst(md and weive 
the &c&t entising of his flesh, and of the fend, than 
k is no sinne ; and if so be he do not, than feleth 
he anon a fla|&e of delit, and than it is good to be- 
.ware and kepe him wel, or elles he wol fall anon to 
^consenting of sinne, and than wol he do it, if he 
juay have time and place. And of this mater sayth 
iMoyseft by the devil, in this maner : the fend sayth, 
i wol chace and pursue man by wicked suggestion, 
and I wol hent him by meving and stirring of sinne, 
and I wol depart my pris, or my prey, by delibera- 
ti(m, and my lust shal be accomplised in delit; I 
wol dr^w my swerd in consenting: {far certes, 
right as a swerd departeth a thing in two peces, 
right so consenting departeth God fro man) and 


than wol I sle him with my hond in dede of sinne. 
Thus sayth the fend ; for certes, than is a man ^ 
ded in soule ; and thus is sinne accomplised, by 
temptation, hy delit, and by consenting : and than 
is the sinne actuel. 

Forsoth sinne is in two maners, either it is venial* 
•or dedly sinne. Sothly, whan a man loveth any 
creature more than Jesu Crist our creatour, than it 
is dedly sinne : and venial sinne it is, if a man love 
Jesu Crist lesse than him ought. Forsoth the dede 
of this venial sinne is ful perilous, for it amenusetb 
the love that man shuld have to God, more and 
more. And therfore if a man charge himself with 
many swiche venial sinnes, certes, but if so be thai 
he somtime discharge him of hem by shrift^ they 
may wel lightly amenuse in him all the love that he 
hath to Jesu Crist : and in this wise skippeth venial 
sinne into dedly sinne. For certes, the more that 
a man chargeth his soule with venial sinnes> the 
more he is enclined to fall into dedly sinne. And 
therfore let us not be negligent to discharge us of 
venial sinnes. For the proverb^ sayth, that many 
smal maken a gret. And herken this ensample: 
A gret wawe of the see cometh somtime with so 
gret a violence, that it drencheth the ship : and the 
same harme do somtime the smal dropes of water, 


enteren thurgh a litel crevis in the thurrok/ 
Q the botom of the ship, if men ben so negli- 
that they discharge hem not by time. And 
>re although ther be difference betvrix thise 
auses of drenching, algates the ship is dreint. 
; so fareth it somtime of dedly sinne, and of 
us venial sinnes, whan they multiplie in man^ 
iHjy that thilke worldly thinges that he loveth/ 
h. which he sinneth venially, is as gret in his 
as the love of God, or more : and therfore the 
f every thing that is not beset in God, ne don 
pally for Goddes sake, although that a man 
t lesse than God, yet is it venial sinne ; and 
sinne is, whan the love of any thing weigheth 
herte of man, as moche as the love of God, 
>re. Dedly sinne, as sayth Seint Augustine, 
lan a man tourneth his herte fro God, whiche 
is veray soveraine bountee, that may not 
ge, and yeveth his herte to thing that may 
ige and flitte : and certes, that is every thing 
jod of heven. For soth is, that if a man yeve 
^e, which that he oweth to God with all his 
unto a creature, certes, as moche of his love 
yeveth to the same creature, so moche he be- 
i fro God, and therfore doth he sinne : for he, 


that is dettour to God, ne yeldeth not to €iod ali 
his dette, that is to sayn, all the love of his herie. 

Now sith man understondeth generdly, which is 
venial sinne, than is it covenable to tell specially 
of sinnes, whiche that many a man peraventure 
demeth hem no sinnes, and shriveth him not of the 
8€une, and yet natheles they be sinnes sothly, as 
thise clerkes writen ; this is to say, at every t3^e 
that man eteth and drinketh more than sufficeth to 
the sustenance of his body, in certain he doth 
sinne ; eke whan he speketh more than it nedeth, 
he doth sinne ; eke whan he herkeneth not be- 
nignely the complaint of the poure ; eke whan he is 
in hele of body, and wol not fast whan other folk 
fast, without cause resonable ; eke whan he slepeth 
more than nedeth, or whan he cometh by that en* 
cheson to late to chirche, or to other werkea of 
charitee ; eke whan he useth his wif withouten so- 
veraine desire of engendrure^ to the honour of God, 
or for the entent to yeld his wif his dette of his 
body ; eke whan he wol not visite the sike, 6t the 
prisoner, if he may ; eke if he love wif or child, or 
other worldly thing, more than reson requireth; 
eke if he flater or blandise more than him ought for 
any necessitee ; eke if he amenuse or wtthdrawe 


the almesse of the poure ; eke if he ^paraile his 
mete more deliciously than aede is, or* ete it to has- 
tily by likerousnesse ; eke if he talke vanitees in the 
ehirdie, or at Goddes service, or that he be a taler 
of idle wordes of foly or yilaaie, for he shal yeld ac- 
comptes of it at the day of dome; eke whan he 
behighteth or assureth to don thinges that he may 
not perfourme ; eke whan that he by lightnesse of 
foly missayeth or scorneth his neighbour; eke 
trhan he haUi ony wicked suspecion of thing, ther 
be ne wote of it no sothfastnesse : thise thinges and 
mo withouten nombre be sinnes, as sayth Seint 
Augu8tine« Now shul ye understonde, that al be 
It so that non erthly man may eschewe al venial 
sinneSy yet may he refreine him, by the brenning 
love that he hath to our Lord Jesu Crist, and b!y 
prayer imd confession, and other good werkes, so 
thttt it shal but litel grieve^ For as sayth Seint 
Augustine; if ^a man love Qod in swiche maner^ 
that aU that evet he doth is in the love of God» or 
for tiie love of God veraily, for he brenneth in the 
love of God, loke how moche that o drope of water, 
which falleth into a fourneis ful of fire, anoieth or 
grev^thihe brenning of the fire, in liketnaner anoieth 
or greveth a venial sinne unto that man, whidie is 
•tedftu»t and parfite in the love of our Saviour Jesu 


Crist. Furthermore, men may also refireine and 
put away venial sinne, by receiving worthily the 
precious body of Jesu Crist ; by receiving eke of 
holy water ; by almes dede ; by general confessioa 
of Confiteor at Masse, and at prime, and atcompliii) 
and by blessing of Bishoppes and Preestes, and by 
other good werkes. 

De septem peccatis tnortaUbus, 

Now it is behovely to tellen whiche ben dedly 
sinnes, that is to say, chiefetaines of sinnes ; for as 
moche as all they ren in o lees, but in divers ma- 
ners. Now ben they cleped chiefetaines, for as 
moche as they be chiefe, and of hem springen all 
other sinnes. llie rote of thise sinnes than is 
pride, the general rote of all harmes. For of this 
rote springen certain braunches : as ire, envie, ac- 
cidie or slouthe, avarice or coveitise, (to conunun 
understonding) glotonie, and lecherie : and eche of 
thise chief sinnes hath his braunches and his twig' 
ges, as shal be declared in hir chapitres folowing. 

De superhia. 

And though so be, that no man knoweth utterly 
the nombre of the twigges, and of the harmes that 
comen of pride, yet wol I shew a partie of hem, as 


hul understond. Ther is inobediencei avaunt- 
ipocrisie, despit, arrogance, impudence, swell- 
of herte, insolence, elation, impatience, strif, 
umacie, presumption, irreverence, pertinacie, 
e glorie, and many other twigges that I cannot 
are. Inobedient is he that disobeyeth for der* 
to the commandements of God, and to his so- 
ines, and to his gostly fader. Avauntour, is he 
bosteth of the harme or of the bountee that he 

don. Ipocrite, is he that hideth to shew him 
he as he is, and sheweth him to seme swiche as 
s not. Despitous, is he that hath disdain of 
leighebour, that is to sayn, of his even Cristen, 
ath despit to do that him ought to do. Arro- 
, is he that thinketh that he hath those boun- 

in him, that he hath not, or weneth that he 
de have hem by his deserving, or elles that 
eth that he be that he is not. Impudent, is he 

for his pride hath no shame of his sinnes^ 
Uing of herte, is whan man rejoyceth him of 
18 that he hath don. Insolent, is he that des- 
li in his jugement all other folk, as in regarde 
is value, of his conning, of his speking, and 
is bering. Elation, is whan he ne may neither 
e to have maister ne felawe. Impatient, is he 

wol not be taught, ne undemome of hia vice^ 


and by strif werrieth truth wetingly, and defended! 
his foly. ContumaXf is he that thurgh his indigna- 
tion is ayenst every auctoritee or power of hem that 
ben his soveraines. Presun^ption, is whan a maa 
undertaketh an emprise that him ought not to d(H 
or elles that he may not do, and this is called sur- 
quidrie. Irreverence, is whan man doth not ho* 
nour ther as him ought to do, and waiteth to he 
reverenced. Pertinacie, is whan man defendeth 
his foly, and trusteth to moche in his owen wit. 
Vaineglorie, is for to have pompe, and delit in his 
temporel highnesse, and glorye him in his worldly 
estate. Jangling, is whan man speketh to moche 
before folk, and dappeth as a mille, and taketh no 
kepe what he sayth. 

And yet ther is a privee spice of pride» that 
waiteth first to be salewed, or he wol salew, all be 
he lesse worthy than that other is ; and eke he 
waiteth to sit, or to go above him in the way, or 
kisse the pax, or ben encensed, or gon to offiring 
before his neighbour, and swiche semblable thinges, 
ayenst his duetee peraventure, but that he hath his 
herte and his entente, in swiche a proude desire, to 
be magnified and honoured beforn the peple. 

Now ben ther two manor of ptides ; that on of 
hem is within the herte of a man, and that other i& 


wkhoat. Of whiche sothly tbise foresayd thinges, 
ttd mo &an I have sayd, apperteinen to pride, that 
il vithin the herte of man ; and ther be other spices 
ofpnde that ben withouten: but natheles, that on 
of thise spices of pride is signe of that other, right 
as the gay leveseli at the Taverne is signe of the 
win that is in the celler. And this is in many 
thinges : as in speche and contenance, and outragi- 
ons array of clothing : for certes, if ther had ben no 
sifone in clothing, Crist wold not so sone have noted 
and spoken of the clothing of thilke rich man in the 
gospel. And, as Seint Gregory $ayth, that pre- 
cioiis clothing b culpable for the derthe of it, and 
for his softnesse, and for his strangenesse and dis- 
guising, and for the superfluitee, or for the inor- 
dinate scantnesse of it, alas ! may not a man see 
a» in our daies,'thesinneful costlewe array of cloth- 
ing; and namely in to moche superfluitee, or elles 
in to disordinate scantnesse ? 

As to the firste sinne] in superfluitee of clothing, 
whiche that maketh it so dere, to the harme of the 
peple, not only the coste of the enbrouding, 'the 
disguising^ endenting, or barring, ounding, paling, 
wiAding^ or bending, and sefnblable wast of cloth 
in yanitee t bat ther is also the costlewe furring in 
hi? gouiies^ so mocfae pounsoniiig of chesel to maken^ 


holes, SO moche dagging of sheres, with the super- 
fluitee in length of the foresaide gounes, trailing in 
the dong and in the myre, on hors and eke on foot, 
as wel of man as of woman, that all thilke trailing 
is veraily (as in effect) wasted, consumed, thred- 
bare, and rotten with dong, rather than it is yeven 
to the poure, to gret damage of the foresayd poare 
folk, and that in sondry wise : this is to sayn, the 
more that cloth is wasted, the more must it cost to 
the poure peple for the scarcenesse ; and further* 
over, if so be that they wolden yeve swiche poun- 
soned and dagged clothing to the poure peple, it is 
not convenient to were for hir estate, ne suffisant to 
bote hir necessitee, to kepe hem fro the distempe- 
rance of the firmament. Upon that other side, to 
speke of the horrible disordinat scantnesse of clo- 
thing, as ben thise cutted sloppes or hanselines, 
that thurgh hir ahortenesse cover not the shamefaV 
membres of man, to wicked entente ; alas ! som o€ 
hem shewen the bosse and the shape of the horri-- 
ble swollen membres, that semen like to the mala-^ 
die of Hernia^ in the wrapping of hir hosen, andL 
eke the buttokkes of hem behinde, that faren as it^^ 
were the hinder part of a she ape in the ful of ther 
mone/ And moreover the wretched swollen mem- 
bres that they shew thurgh disguising, in depaiting^ 


xii hir hosen in white and rede, semeth that half hir 
■shameful privee membres were flaine. And if so be 
Ihat they departe hir hosen in other colours, as is 
white and blewe, or white and blake, or blake and 
-rede, and so forth ; than semeth it, as by variance 
of colour, that the half part of hir privee membres 
ben corrupt by the fire of Seint Anthonie, or by can- 
cre, or other swiche mischance. Of the hinder part 
of hir buttokkes it is ful horrible for to see, for 
certes in that partie of hir body ther as they purgen 
hir stinking ordure, that foule parlie shewe they to 
the peple proudely in despite of honestee, whiche 
honestee that Jesu Crist and his frendes observed 
to shewe in bir lif. Now as to the outrageous ar- 
ray of women, God wote, that though the visages 
of som of hem semen ful chaste and debonaire, 
yet BOtifien they, in hir array of attire, likerous- 
nesse and pride. I say not that honestee in cloth- 
ing of man or woman is uncovenable, but certes 
the superfluitee or disordinat scarcitee of cloth- 
ing is reprevaUe. Also the sinne of ornament, or 
of apparaile, is in thinges that apperteine to 
riding, as in to many delicat hors, that ben holden 
for delit, that ben so faire, fatte, and costlewe; 
•and also in many a vicious knave, that is susteined 
because of hem ; in curious harneis, as in sadles, 


cropers, peitrels, and bridles, covered with preciow 
cloth and rich, barred and plated of gold and oi 
silver. For which God sayth by Zacharie the Pi^ 
phet^ I wol confounde the riders of swiche han. 
These folke taken litel regard of the riding oi 
Goddes sone of heven, and of his harneis, whan he 
rode upon the asse, and had non other hamets Iwt 
the poure clothes of his disciples, ne we rede ao< 
that ever he rode on ony other beste. I speke thif 
for the sinne of superfluitee, and not for honestee 
whan reson it requireth. And moreover, certei 
pride is gretly notified in holding of gret meiok 
whan they ben of litel profite or of right no profito 
and namely whan that meinie is felonous and dama 
geous to the peple by hardinesse of high lordeship 
or by way of office ; for certes, swiche lordes sel 
thsin hir lordeship to the Devil of helle^ whan the 
austeine the wickednesse of hir meinie. Or eUe< 
whan thise folk of low degree, as they that holde 
bostelries, susteinen thefte of hir hoatellers, and the 
is in many maner of deceites : thilke maner of UA 
ben the flies that folowen the hony, or etles th 
h.OH^des that folowen the caraine. Swiche foK 
s^yde folk stranglen spirituelly hir lordeshipes ; ft 
wl^ich thi^ saith Pavid the Prophet; wicked del 
mot QOiji^e unto thilke lordeshipes, and God ye^ 


that they HQOt descend into belle, all doun : f<»r in 
bir homes is iniquitee and shrewednesse, and not 
God of heven. And certes, but if tbey don amende- 
iient, right as God yave his benison to Laban by 
ihe service of Jacob, and to Pharao by the service 
of Josqphy right so Ood wol yeve his malison to 
Kviche lordeshipes as susteine the wiokednesse of 
liir servants, but they come to amendement. Prtde 
of the table af^ereth eke ful oft ; for certes riche 
men be cleped to festes, and poure folk be put awtily 
ftnd reboked; aad also in excesse of divers metes 
Mid dvinkes, and namely swiche maner bake metes 
and dishe meles brenning of wilde fire, and peinted 
a&d cantelled with paper, and semblable wast, so 
tlMt it is abiision to thinke. And eke in to gret 
preciousnesse of vessell, and curiositee of minstral- 
cie, by wtecb a man is stirred more to the delites of 
hixune, if so be that he sette his herte the lesse 
vpoii cure Lord Jesu Crist, it is a sinne ; and cer- 
taiiiely the delites might ben so gret in this cas, that 
^ maa might lightly fall by hem into dedly sinne. 
"Rie spices that sourden of pride, sothly whan they 
**tvden of malice imagined, avised, and forecaste, 
or elles of usage, ben dedly sinnes, it is no doute. 
And whan they sourden by freeltee unavised so- 
fenly, and sodenly withdraw again, al be they gre- 


vous sinnes, I gesse that they be not dedly. Now 
might men aske, wherof that pride sourdeth and 
springeth. 1 say that somtime it springeth of the 
goodes of nature, somtime of the goodes of fortune, 
and somtime of the goodes of grace. Certes the 
goodes of nature stonden only in the goodes of the 
body, or of the soule. Certes, the goodes of the 
body ben hele of body, strength, delivernesse, beau- 
tee, gentrie, franchise; the goodes of nature of the 
soule ben good wit, sharpe understonding, subtil 
engine, vertue naturel, good memorie : goodes of 
fortune ben riches, high degrees of lordshipes, and 
preisinges of the peple : goodes of grace ben science 
power to sufFre spirituel travaile, benignitee, vertu- 
ous contemplation, withstonding of temptation, and 
semblable thinges : of which foresayd goodes, certes 
it is a gret folic, a man to priden him in ony of heU 
all. Now as for to speke of goodes of nature, Go< 
wote that somtime we have hem in nature as mock 
to our. damage as to our proHte. As for to spels 
of hele of body, trewely it passeth ful lightly, aa< 
<also it is ful ofbe encheson of sikenesse of the soule 
for God wote, the flesh is a gret enemy to the soul^ 
and therfore the more that the body is hole^ tb 
more be we in peril to falle. Eke for to priden hif 
in his strength of body, it is a grete folic : for certe 


the flesh coveiteth ayenst the spirite : and ever the 
I more strong that the flesh is, the sorier may the 
soule be : and over all, this strength of body, and 
worldly hardinesse, causeth ful oft to many man 
peril and mischance. ' Also to have pride of gentrie 
is right gret folic : for oft time the gentrie^ of the 
body benimeth the gentrie of the soule : and also we 
ben ^1 of o fader and of o moder : and all wc ben 
ofo nature rotten and corrupt, both riche and poure. 
Forsoth o maner gentrie is for to preise, that ap- 
pareilleth mannes corage with vertues and morali- 
tees, and maketh him Cristes child ; for trusteth 
wel, that over what man that sinne hath maistrie, 
be is a veray cherl to sinne. 

Now.ben ther general signes of gentilnesse; as 
eschewing of vice and ribaudrie, and servage of 
sinne, in word, and in werk and contenance, and 
using vertue, as courtesie, and clenenesse, and to 
^ be liberal ; that is to say, large by mesure ; for thilke 
J that passeth mesure, is folic and sinne. Another is 
to remember him of bountee, that he of other folk 
hath received. Another is to be benigne to his sub- 
gettes ; wherfore saith Seneke ; ther is nothing more 
<^oyenable to a man of high estate, than debonairtee 
^d pitee : and therfore thise flies that men clepen 
bees, whan they make hir king, they chesen on that 




hath no prioke, wherwith he may sting. Another 
is, m^n to havi a nibble herte and a diligent, to at- 
teine tp Iiigh vertuous thinges. Now certes, a man 
to priden kim in the goodes of grace, is eke tn out- 
rageous folie : for thilke yeftes of grace that shM 
hare toumed him to goodnesse, and to medicine 
tonrneth him to venime and confusion, as saytl 
Seint Gregorie. Certes also, who so prideth himii 
the gQodnesse of fortune, he is a gret fool : for som 
time is a man a gret lord by the morwe, that is i 
caitife and a wretch or it be night : afid somtime th< 
richesse of a man is cause of his deth : and som 
time the delites of a man ben cause of grerous ma 
ladie, thurgh which he dieth. Certes, the commen 
dation of the peple is ful false and brotel for t( 
trust ; this day they preise, to-morwe they blame 
God wote, desire to have commendation of the pepl( 
hath caused deth to many a besy man. 

Remedium Superbue, 

Now sith that so is, that ye have understond what 
is pride, and which be the spices of it, and ho^ 
mennes pride sourdeth and springeth ; now ye ftkul 
understond which is the remedie ayenst it. Humi- 
litee or mekenesse is the remedy ayenst pride ; that 
is a tertue, thurgh which a man hath yeray know- 


lege of himself, and holdeth of himself no deiiitee, 

ne no pris, as in regard of his desertes, considering 

ever his freeltee. Now ben ther three maner of hu- 

militees ; as humilitee in herte, and another in the 

mouthy and the thridde in werkes. The humilitee 

in herte is in foure maners : that on is, whan a man 

holdeth himself as nought worth before God of he* 

7en : the second is, whan he despiseth non other 

man : the thridde is^ whan he ne recketh nat though 

men holde him nought worth : and the fourth is, 

vrhan he is not sory of his humiliation. Also the 

humilitee of mouth is in foure thinges ; in attem- 

perat speche ; in humilitee of speche ; and whan he 

confesseth with his owen mouthy that he is swiche 

as he thinketh that he is in his herte : another is^ 

whan he preiseth the bountee of another man and 

nothing therof amenuseth. Humilitee eke in werkes 

ift in foure maners. The first is, whan he putteth 

other men before him ; the second is, to chese the 

lowest place of all ; the thridde is, gladly to assent 

to good conseil ; the fourth is, to stond gladly to the 

a^jfard of his soverjaine, or of him that is higher in 

^bgree : certain this is a gret werk of humilitee. 


I De Invidia, 


After pride wol I speke of the foule sinne of Envie, 


which that is, after the werd of the philosopher, sorwe 
of other meimes prosperitee ; and after the word of 
Seint Au^stine, it is sorwe of other mennes wele, and 
joye of other mennes harme. This foule sinne is platly 
ayenst the holy gost. Al be it so, that every sinoie is 
ayenst the holy gost, yet natheles, for as moche as 
bountee apperteineth proprely to the holy gost, and 
envie cometh proprely of malice, therfore it is pro- 
pjrely ayenst the bountee of the holy Gost. Now hath 
malice two spices, that is to say, hardinesse of herte 
in wickednesse, or elles the flesh of man is so blind, 
that he considereth not that he is in sinne, or reck- 
eth not that he is in sinne ; which is the hardinesse 
of the divel. That other spice of envie is, whan 
that a man werrieth trouth, whan he wot that it is 
trouth, and also whan he werrieth the grace of Qo^ 
that god hath yeve to his neighbour : and all this is 
by envie. Certes than is envie the werst sinne tba* 
is; for sothly all other sinnes be somtime -otjii 
ayenst on special vertue : but certes envie is ayenst 
al maner vertues and alle goodnesse; for it is sory 
of all bountee of his neighbour : and in this man^^ 
it is divers from all other sinnes ; for wel unnethe is 
ther any sinne that it ne hath som delit in himself; 
save only envie, that ever hath in himself anguish 
and sorwe. The spices of envie ben these. Ther 



is first sorwe of other mennes goodnesse and of hir 
prosperitee; and prosperitee ought to be kindly 
mater of joye ; than is eavie a sinne ayenst kinde. 
The seconde spice of envie is joye of other mennes 
harme ; and that is proprely like to the divel, that 
ever rejoyseth him of mannes harme. Of thise two 
spices Cometh backbiting ; and this sinne of back- 
biting or detracting hath certain spices, as thus : 
som man preiseth his neighbour by a wicked en- 
tente, for he maketh alway a wicked knotte at the 
laste ende : alway he maketh a but at the last ende, 
that is digne of more blame, than is worth all the 

Jpreising. The second spice is, that if a man be 
good, or doth or sayth a thing to good entente, the 
backbiter wol turne all that goodnesse up so doun 
to his shrewde entente. The thridde is to amenuse 
the bountee of his neighbour. The fourthe spice of 
backbiting is this, that if men speke goodnesse of a 
^an, than wol the backbiter say ; Parfay swiche a 
^n is yet better than he ; in dispreising of him that 
^en preise. The fifth spice is this, for to consent 
J gladly to herken the harme that men speke of other 
folk. This sinne is ful gret, and ay encreseth after 
the wicked entent of the backbiter. After backbit- 
ing Cometh grutching or murmurance, and somtime 
it springeth of impatience ayenst God, and somtime 


ayenst man. Ayenst God it is whan a man gnitchetb 
ayenst the peine of helle, or ayenst poverte, or losse 
of catel, or ayenst rain or tempest, or elles grutcheth 
that shrewes have prosperitee, or elles that good 
men have adversitee : and all thise thinges shuld 
men suffre patiently, for they comen by the rightful 
jugement and ordinance of God. Somtime comet)i 
grutching of avarice, as Judas grutched ayenst the 
Magdeleine, whan she anointed the bed of our Lord 
Jesu Crist with hire precious oynenient. This 
maner murmuring is swiche as whan man*grutcheth 
of goodnesse that himself doth, or that other folk 
don of hir owen catel. Somtime cometb murmur of 
pride, as whan Simon the Pharisee grutched ayenst 
the Magdeleine, whan she approched to Jesu Crist 
and wept at his feet for hire sinnes : and somtime it 
sourdeth of envie, whan men discover a mannes 
harme that was privee, or bereth him on bond thing 
^at is false. Murmur also is oft among servants, 
that grutchen whan hir soveraines bidden hem do 
leful thinges ; and for as moche as they dare not 
openly withsay the commaundement of hir soyers^nes, 
yet wol they say harme and grutche and murmure 
prively for veray despit ; which wordes they call the 
divels Pater nosier, though so be that the divel had 
never Pater noster, but that lew^d folke yeven it 


swicbe a name. Somtime it cometh of ire or priree 
hate, that norisheth rancour in the herte, as after* 
ward I shal declare* Than cometh eke bittemesse 
of hertCy thurgh which bitternesse every good dede 
of his neighbour semeth to him bitter and unsavory. 
Than cometh discord that unbindeth all maner of 
frendship. Than cometh scorning of his neighbour^ 
al do he never so wel. Than cometh accusing, as 
whan a man seketh occasion to annoyen his neigh* 
hour, which is like the craft of the divel, that wait- 
eth both day and night to accusen us alL Than 
oometh malignitee, thurgh which a man annoieth 
hn neighbour privdy if he may, and if he may not,. 
adgiate his wicked will shal not let, as for to brenne 
hit hous prively, or enpoison him, or sle his bestes,. 
and semblable thinges. 

Jl&nedium Invidue, 

Now wcl I iqpeke of the remedie ayenst this foule 
sinne of envie* Firste is the love of God princi* 
pidly^ and loving of his, neighbour as himself: for 
sotUy tiidt on ne may not be without that other. 
Aodt^tmit wel, that in the name of thy neighbour 
thcNi ihalt understande the name of thy brother; 
fbs'certes all we have on fader fleshly, and on mo* 
der^ that is to say, Adam and Eve; and also on 


fader spirituel, that is to say, God of heven. Thy 
neighbour art thou bounde for to love, and will 
him all goodnesse, and therfore sayth God ; Love 
thy neighbour as thyself; that is to say, to salva- 
tion both of lif and soulc. And moreover thou 
shalt love him in word, and in benigne amonesting 
and chastising, and comfort him in his anoyes, and 
praye for him with all thy herte. And in dede 
thou shalt love him in swiche wise that thou shalt 
do to him in charitee, as thou woldest that it were 
don to thin owen person : and therfore thou ne 
shalt do him no damage in wicked word, ne harme 
in his body, ne in his catel, ne in his soule by en- 
tising of wicked ensample. Thou shalt not desire 
his wif, ne non of his thinges. Understonde eke 
that in the name of neighbour is comprehended his 
enemy: certes man shal love his enemy for the 
commandement of God, and sothly thy frend thou 
shalt love in God. I say thin enemy shalt thou 
love for Goddes sake, by his commandement : for 
if it were reson that man shulde hate his enemy, 
forsoth God n'olde not receive us to hi& love that 
ben his enemies. Ayenst three maner of wronges, 
that his enemy dotk to him, he shal do three things,, 
as thus : ayenst hate and rancour of herte, he shal. 
love him in herte : ayenst chiding and wicked 


ivordes, he shal pray for his enemy : ayenst the 
wicked dede of his enemy he shal do him bountee. 
For Crist sayth : Love your enemies, and prayeth for 
hem that speke you harme, and and for hem that cha- 
sen and pursuen you : and do bountee to hem that 
haten you. Lo, thus comandeth us our Lord Jesu 
Crist to do to our enemies : forsoth nature driveth us 
to love our frendes, and parfay our enemies have more 
nede of love than our frendes, and they that more 
nede have, certes to hem shal men do goodnesse. 
And certes in thilke dede have we remembrance of 
the love of Jesu Crist that died for his enemies : 
and in as moche as thilke love is more grevous to 
performe, so moche is more gret the merite, and 
therfore the loving of our enemy hath confounded' 
the venime of the divel. For right as the divel 
is^ confounded by humilitee, right so is he wounded 
to the deth by the love of our enemy : certes than 
is love the medicine that casteth out the venime of 
envie ho mannes herte, 

De Ira. 

After envy wol I declare of the sinne of Ire f 
for sothly who so hath envy upon his neighbour^ 
anon communly wol finde him mater of wrath in- 
word or in dede ayenst him to whom he hath envie. 

5B TH£ P£ll&0N£9 TA|.E. 

And as wel cometh Ir0 ff pride as of etivie, for 
SiDtbly he that is proude or enyious is. lightly 

This sinne of Ire, after the discriTing of S^ 
Augustin, is wicked will to be avenged by word or 
by dede. Ire, after the Philosophre, is the ferveat 
blode of man yquicked in his herte, thurgh which 
he wold harme to him that he hateth: for certe» 
the herte of man by enchaufing and moving of his 
blood waxeth so troubled, that it is out of stt 
maner jugement of reson. But ye shul under- 
stonde that ire is in two maners, that on of hem is 
good, and that other is wicked. The good ire is b; 
jalousie of goodnesse, thurgh the whioh mm ^ 
wroth with wickednesse, and again wiokedp^s^ 
And therfore saith the wise man, that ire is better 
than play. This ire is with debonairtee, and it is 
wrothe without bittemesse : not vrrothe ayenat the 
man, but wrothe with the misdede of the man : as 
saith the Prophet David ; Irascimmi^ Ss noUtfi petf* 
care. Now understond that wicked ire is in two 
maners, that is to say, soden ire or hasty ire with- 
out avisement and consenting of reson ; thci wytyng 
and the sense of this is, that the r^on of a man M 
consenteth not to that soden ire^ iu»d thao it is 
venial. Another ire is that is ftd mcked, thai 

THE PER^irfib tAL&V 59 

30ineth of felotiie of h«rie^ liaised and isast bl^ibre, 
with wicked will to do Vekgeance/ and therto his- 
leson consenteth : and sothly this U 4ei\y sinae. 
Thie ire is so displesant t6 Grod, that it troubleth 
bis hens, and chaseth the holy Gdst odt of mannes 
soule, and wasteth and destroyeth that likenesse of 
Gody that is to say, the vertue that is in mannes 
soule, atid pntteth in him the likenesse of the devil, 
and benimeth the man fVo Qod that is his rightful, 
Lord. This ire is a fnl gret plesance to the devil, 
fbr it is the derils fDmei0 that he enehaufeth with the 


fire of helle. . Fo^ eertes right so as fire is more 
mighty to destroie erthly thinges, than any other 
elemeiit right so ire is mighty to destroie all spiri- 
tual tkinges. Loke how that fire of smal gledes, 
that ben almost ded under ashen, \iirol quicken ayen 
whan they ben touched with brimstone, right so ire 
wol evermore quicken ayen, whan it isr touched 
with pride that is covered in mannes herte. For 
certes fire ne may not come out of no thing, but if 
it were first in the same thing naturelly : as fire is 
dravme out of flintes with stele. And right so as 
pride is many times mater of ire, right so is rancour 
norioe and keper of ire. llier is a maner tree, as 
sayth Seint Isidore, that whan men make a fire of 
the saide tree, and cover the coles of it with ashen. 


sothly the fire therof wol lost all a yere or more : 
and right so fareth it of rancour, whan it is ones 
conceived in the herte of som men, certes it wol 
lasten peraventure from an Easterne day until ano- 
ther Easterne day, or more. But certes the same 
man is ful fer from the mercie of God all thilke 

In this foresaid devils fomeis ther forgen- three 
shrewes ; pride, that ay bloweth and encreseth the 
fire by chiding and wicked wordes : than stondeth 
envie, and holdeth the hot yren upon the herte of 
man, with a pair of longe tonges of longe rancour : 
and than stondeth the sinne of contumelie or strif 
and cheste, and battereth and forgeth by vilains 
reprevinges. Certes this cursed sinne annoyetb 
both to the man himself, and eke his neighbour. 
For sothly almost all the harme or damage that ony 
man dotk to his neighbour cometh of wrath : for 
certes, outrageous wrathe doth all that ever the 
foule fende willeth or commandeth him ; for he ne 
spareth neyther for our Lord Jesu Crist, ne his 
swete moder; and in his outrageous anger and ire, 
alas ! alas ! ful many on at that time> feleth in his 
herte ful wickedly, both of Crist, and also of all 
his Is not this a cursed vice ? Yes certes. 
Alas ! it benimmeth fro man his witte and his re" 


son, and all his debonaire lif spirituel, that shuld 
kepe his soule. Certes it benimmeth also Goddes 
due lordship (and that is mannes soule) and the 
love of his neighbours : it striveth also all day 
ayenst trouth ; it revetli him the quiet of his herte, 
and subverteth his soule. 

Of ire comen thise stinking engendrures; firsts 
hate, that is olde wrath : discord, thurgh which a 
man forsaketh his olde frend that he hath loved ful 
long : and than cometh werre, and every maner of 
wrong that a man doth to his neighbour in body oc 
in catel. Of this cursed sinne of ire cometh eke 
manslaughtee. And understondeth wel that ho- 
micide (that is, manslaughter) is in divers wise. 
Som maner of homicide is spirituel, and som is 
bodily. Spirituel manslaughter is in six thinges. 
First, by hate, as sayth Seint John : He that hateth 
'his brother, is an homicide. Homicide is also by 
backbiting; of which backbitours sayth Salomon, 
that they have two swerdes, with which they slay 
hir neighbours : for sothly as wicked it is to benime 
of him his good name as his lif. Homicide is tilso 
in yeving of wicked conseil by fraude, as for to yeve 
conseil to areise wrongful customes and talages ; 
of which sayth Salomon : A lion roring, and a here 
hungrie, ben like to cruel Lordes, in withholding or 


abr^gging of th$ )iire.or ^of the wages of sexvantes^ 
or elles in tusurie^or in witli<|rawing of the fil^^^ of 
poure folk. For which the wise man sayth': pedeth 
faim that aluiolt dieth for hoiiger ; for Bothiy but if 
jthou fede him thou sleest him. And all thise ben 
dediy sinnes. Bodily manslaughter is whan thov 
stesst him with thy tonge in other maner, as whan 
ih^vL eommandest to sle a mai!, or elles yevest c(mr 
fidl' to sle a man. Manslaughter in dede is in fooie 
tnaners. That on is by lawe, right as a justice 
4ampneth him that is culpabl^ to the deth : but let 
Ihe justice beware that he do it rightfully, and that 
he do it not for delit to spill blood, but for keping 
of r^htwisenesse. Another homicide is don for 
neeessitee, as whan a man sleeth another in his d6>- 
fence, and that he ne may non other wise escapen 
fro his owen deth : but certain, and he may escape 
withouten slaughter of his adversarie, he doth sinn^ 
and he shal here penance as for dedly sinne. Also 
if a man by cas or aventure shete an arowe or cast 
a stone, with which he sleeth a man, he is an ho; 
micide. And if a woman by negligence overlyeth 
hire child in hire slepe, it is homicide and dedly 
sinne. Also whan a man disturbleth conception of 
a childe, and maketh a woman barein by drinkes 
of venimous herbes, thurgh which she may not con- 


teive, or ftleeth like child by drinkes, or elles putteth 
certain material thing in hire secret place to ale 
lire childe, or elles doth unkinde sinne, by which 
many or woman, shedeth his nature in place ther at 
a ctiilde may not be conceived : or elles if a woman 
hath concdved^ and hurteth hireself, and by that 
mifthappe the childe is slaine, yet is it homicide. 
What say we eke of women that murderen hir chil- 
dren for drede of worldly shame ? Certes, it is a& 
horrible homicide. Eke if a man approche to a 
woman by desir of lecherie, thurgh which the childe 
is perished ; or elles smiteth a woman wetingly, 
thurgh which she leseth hire child ; all thise ben 
homicides, and horrible dedly sinnes. Yet cometi 
Ui^ 6f ire many mo sinnes, as wel in worde, as in 
Ihdught and in .dede; as he that arretteth upon 
God, or blameth God of the thing of which he is 
himself gilty ; or despiseth God and all his halwes, 
as don thise cursed hasardours in divers contrees. 
lUs cursed sinne don they, whan they felen in hir 
herte ful wickedly of God and of his halwes : also 
whan they treten unreverently the sacrament of the 
ttiiter, thilke sinne is so gret, that unneth it may be 
relesed^ but that the mercy of God passeth all his 
werkes, it is so gret, and he so benigne. Than 
Cometh also of ire attry anger, whan a man it 


sharpely amonested in his shrift to leve sinne ; 
wol he be an^ry» and answere hokerly and an; 
to defend or excusen his sinne by unstedfast 
of his fleshe ; or elles he did it for to hold 
pagnie with his felawes ; or elles he sayeth th( 
enticed him ; or elles he did it for his youth 
elles his complexion is so corageous that he 
not forbere ; or elles it is his destinee, he i 
unto a certain age ; or elles he sayth it comet 
of gentilnesse of his auncestres, and semi 
thinges. All thise maner of folke so wrapper 
in hir sinnes, that they ne wol not deliver her 
for sothly, no wight that excuscth himself w 
of his sinne, may not be delivered of his sin 
that he mekely beknoweth his sinne. Afte 
than cometh swering, that is expresse ayen 
commandement of God : and that befalleth of 
anger and of ire. God sayth ; Thou shalt no 
the name of thy Lord God in idel. Also oui 
Jesu Crist sayth by the word of Seint Matheifc 
shal ye not swere in all manere, neyther by 1 
for it is Goddes trone : ne by erthe, for it 
benche of his feet : ne by Jerusalem, for it 
citee of a gret King : ne by thin hed, for tl 
mayst not make an here white ne black : 1 
sayth, be your word, ye, ye, nay, nay : and 


^hatis more, it is of evil. Thus sayth Crist. For 
cristas sake swere not so sinnefully, in dismem- 
>ring of Crist, by soule, herte, bones, and body : for 
iertes it semetb, that ye thinken that the cursed 
Wes dismembred him not ynough, but ye dismcm- 
»re him more. And if so be that the lawe compell 
ou to swere, than reuleth you after the lawe of 
jod in your swering, as sayth Jeremie ; Thou shalt 
:epe three conditions ; thou shalt swere in trouth, 
ti dome, and in rightwisenesse. This is to say, 
hou shalt swere soth ; for every lesing is ayenst 
^rist; for Crist is veray trouth: and thinke wel 
Hs, that every gret swerer, not compelled law- 
Wly to swere, the plage shall not depart fro his 
kous, while he useth unleful swering. Thou shalt 
Bwere also in dome, whan thou art constreined by 
tke domesman to witnesse a trouth. Also thou 
shalt not swere for envie, neyther for favour, ne for 
mede, but only for rightwisenesse, and for declar- 
ing of trouthe to the honour and worship of God, 
ind to the aiding and helping of thin even Cristen. 
ind therfore every man that taketh Goddes name 
n idel, or falsely swereth with his mouth, or elles 
iketh on him the name of Crist, to be called a 
'risten man, and liveth agenst Cristes living and 
is'teching: all they take Goddes name in idel. 



Loke also what sayth Seint Peter ; Aduum iv. Non 
est aliud nomen sub calo, &c. Ther is non other 
name (sayth Seint Peter) under heven yeven to men, 
in which they may be saved ; that is to say, but the 
name of Jesu Crist. Tsike kepe eke how precioQS 
is the name of Jesu Crist, as sayth Seint Poule, ad 
Philipenses ii. In nomine Jesu, &c. that in the name 
of Jesu every knee* of hevenly creature, or erthly, 
or of helle, shuld bowen: for it is so high and 
so worshipful, that the cursed fend in helle 
shuld tremble for to here it named. Than semeth 
it, that men that swere so horribly- by his blessed 
name, that they despise itmore boldely than did the 
cursed Jewes, or elles the divel, that trembleth 
whan he hereth his name. 

Now certes, sith that swering (but if it be law- 
fully don) is so highly defended, moche worse is fo^ 
to swere falsely, and eke nedeles. 

What say we eke of hem that deliten hem in sw^ 
ing, and hold it a genterie or manly dede to swere 
gret othes ? And what of hem that of veray usage 
ne cese not to swere gret othes, al h6 the cause not 
worth a strawe ? Certes this is horrible sinne. Swe^ 
ing sodenly without avisement is also a gret sinne. 
But let us go now to that horrible swering of adju- 
ration and conjuration, as don thise false enchaunt- 


3ur8 and nigromancers in basins ful of water, or in 
a bright swerd, in a cercle, or in a fire, or in a 
sholder bone of a shepe : I cannot sayn, but that 
they do cursedly and damnably ayenst Crist, and all 
the feith of holy chirche. 

What say we of hem that beleven on divinales, 
as by flight or by noise of briddes or of bestes^ or 
by sorte of geomancie, by dremes, by chirking of 
lores, or craking of houses, by gnawing of rattes, 
md swiche maner wretchednesse ? Certes, all thise 
:hinges ben defended by God and holy chirche, for 
p^hich they ben accursed, till they come to amende- 
nent, that on swiche filth set hir beleve. Charmes 
br woundes, or for maladies of men or of bestes, if 
:hey take any effect, it may be peraventure that God 
lufireth it, for folk shuld yeve the more feith and re- 
rerence to his name. 

Now wol I speke of lesinges, which generally is 
ialse signifiance of word, in entent to deceive his 
ii&a Cristen. Some lesingjs, of which ther cometh 
non avantage to no wight ; and som lesing turneth 
to the profite and ese of a man, and to the dam- 
luage of another man. Another lesing is, for to 
saven his lif or his catel. Another lesing cometh of 
delit for to lie, in which delit, they wol forge a long 
tale, and peint it with all circumstances, wher all 


the ground of the tale is false. Some lesing cometh, 
for he wol sustein his word : and some lesing 
cometh of recchelesnesse withouten avisement, and 
semblable thinges. 

Let us now touche the vice of flaterie, which ne 
cometh not gladly, but for drede, or for covetise. 
Flaterie is generally wrongful preising. Flaterers 
ben the devils nourices, that nourish his children 
with milke of losengerie. Forsoth Salomon sayth, 
That flaterie is werse than detraction : for soratirae 
detraction maketh an hautein man be the more hum- 
ble, for he dredeth detraction, but certes flaterie 
maketh a man to enhaunce his herte and his conte- 
nance. Flaterers ben the devils enchauntours, for 
they maken a man to wenen himself be like that he 
is not like. They be like to Judas, that betrayed 
God ; and thise flaterers betrayen man to selle him 
to his enemy, that is the devil. Flaterers ben the 
devils chappeleines, that ever singen Placebo* I re- 
ken flaterie in the vices of ire: for oft time if a man 
be wroth with another, than wol he flater som wight, 
to susteine him in his quarrel. 

Speke we now of swiche cursing as cometh of 
irous herte. Malison generally may be said every 
maner power of harme : swiche cursing bereveth 
man the regne of God, as sayth Seint Poule. And 






oft time swiche cursing wrongfully retorneth again 
to him that curseth, as a bird retorneth again to his 
owen nest. And over all thing men ought eschew 
to curse hir children, and to yeve to the devil hir 
engendrure, as fer forth as in hem is : certes it is a 
^ete peril and a grete sinne. 

Let us than speke of chiding and repreving, 
ivhich ben ful grete woundes in mannes herte, for 
they unsow the seames of frendship in mannes herte : 
for certes, unnethe may a man be plainely accorded 
with him, that he hath openly reviled, repreved, and 
disclaundered : this is a full grisly sinne, as Crist 
sayth in the Gospel. And take ye kepe now, that 
he that repreveth his neighbour, either he repreveth 
hitu by som harme of peine, that he hath upon his 
bodie, as, Mesel, croked harlot ; or by som sinne 
that he doth. Now if he repreve him by harme of 
peine, than turneth the repreve to Jesu Crist ; for 
peine is sent by the rightwise sonde of God, and by 
his suffrance, be it meselrie, or maime, or maladie : 
and if he repreve him uncharitably of sinne, as, thou 
holour, thou dronkelevve harlot, and so forth ; than 
apperteineth that to the rejoicing of the devil, whic 
e?er hath joye that men don sinne. And certes, 
chiding may not come but out of a vilains herte, for 
aft^r the haboundance of the herte speketh th£ 


mouth ful oft. And ye shul understond, that loke 
by any way, whan ony man chastiseth another, that 
he beware fro chiding or repreving : for trewely, but 
he beware, he may ful lightly quicken the fire of an- 
ger and of wrath, which he shuld quench : and per- 
aventure sleth him, that he might chastise with be- 
nignitee. For, as sayth Salomon, the amiable tonge 
is the tree of lif ; that is to say, of lif spirituel. And 
sothly, a dissolute tonge sleth the spirit of him that 
repreveth, and also of him which is repreved. Lo, 
what sayth Seint Augustine : Ther is nothing so like 
the devils child, as he which oft chideth. A ser- 
vant of God behoveth not to chide. And though 
that chiding be a vilains thing betwixt all maner 
folk, yet it is certes most uncovenable betwene a 
man and his wif, for ther is never rest. And ther- 
fore sayth Salomon ; An hous that is uncovered in 
rayne and droping, and a chiding wif, ben lik^. A 
man, which is in a dropping hous in many places, 
though he eschew the dropping in o place, it drop- 
peth on him in another place: so fareth it by ft 
chiding wif; if she chide him not in o place, she wol 
chide him in another : and therfore, better is a mor- 
sel of bred with joye, than an hous filled ful of de- 
lices with chiding, sayth Salomon. And Seint Poule 
sayth ; O ye women, beth ye subgettes to your hu«- 


bonds, as you behoveth in Gpd ; and ye men loveth 
your wives. 

Afterward speke we of scorning, which is a wick- 
ed sinne, and namely, whan he scometh a man for 
his good werkes : for certes, swiche scorners faren 
like the foule tode, that may not endure to smell the 
swete savour of the vine, whan it flourisheth. Thise 
scorners ben parting felawes with the devil, for they 
have joye whan the devil winneth, and sorwe if he 
ieseth. They ben adversaries to Jesu Crist, for they 
bate that he loveth; that is to say, salvation of soule. 

Speke we now of wicked conseil, for he that wick- 
ed conseil yeveth is a traitour, for he deceiveth him 
that trusteth in him. But natheles, yet is wicked 
conseil first ayenst himself: for, as sayth the wise 
nan, every false living hath this propertee in him- 
self, that he that wol annoy another man, he annoy- 
^th first himself. And men shul understond, that 
nan shal not take his conseil of false folk, ne of 
ingry folk, or grevous folk, ne of folk that loven 
specially hir owen profit, ne of to moche worldly 
blk, namely, in conseiling of mannes soule. 

Now cometh the sinne of hem that maken discord 
imong folk, which is a sinne that Crist hateth ut- 
jsrly ; and no wonder is ; for he died for to make 
concord. And more shame don they to Crist, than 


did they that him crucified : for God loveth better, 
that frendship be amonges folk, than he did his 
owen body, which that he yave for unitee. Ther- 
fore ben they likened to the devil, that ever is about 
to make discord. 

Now Cometh the sinne of Double tonge, swiche 
as speke faire before folk, and wickedly behind ; or 
elles they make semblaunt as though they spake of 
good entention, or elles in game and play, and yet 
they speken of wicked entente. 

Now Cometh bewreyiii|^ of conseil, thurgh which 
a man is defamed: certet unnethe may he restore 
the damage. Now cometh manace, that is an open 
folic : for he that oft manaceth, he threteth more 
than he may performe ful oft time. Now comen 
idel wordes, that be without profite of him that 
speketh the wordes, and eke of him that herkeneth 
the wordes : or elles idel wordes ben tho that ben 
nedeles, or without entente of naturel profit. And 
al be it that idel wordes be somtime venial sinne, 
yet shuld men doute hem, for we shul yeve reken- 
ing of hem before God. Now cometh jangling, that 
may not come withouten sinne : and as sayth Salo- 
mon, it is a signe of apert folic. And therfore a 
philosophre sayd, whan a man axed him how that 
he shuld plese the peple, he answered ; Do many 


good werkes, and speke few jangelinges. After 
this Cometh the sinne of japeres, that ben the devils 
apeSy for they make folk to laugh at hir japerie, as 
folk don at the gaudes of an ape : swiche japes de- 
fendeth Seint Poule. Loke how that vertuous 
wordes and holy comforten hem that travaillen in 
the service of Crist, right so comforten the vilains 
words, and the knakkes of japeres, hem that tra- 
vaillen in the service of the devil. Thise ben the 
sinnes of the tonge, that comen of ire, and other 
sinnes many mo. 

Remedium Ires. 

The remedie ayenst Ire, is a vertue that cleped 
is mansuetude, that is Debonairtee : and eke ano- 
ther vertue, that men clepfen patience or suiOfe- 

Debonairtee i^ithdraweth and refreineth the stir- 
rings and mevings of mannes corage in his herte, 
in swich maner,»that they ne skip not out by anger 
ne ire. Sufferance suffereth swetely all the annoy- 
ance and the wrong that is don to man outward, 
Seint Jerome sayth this of debonairtee, That it doth 
no harme to no wight, ne sayth : ne for no harme 
that men do ne say, he ne chaseth not ayenst reson. 
This vertue somtime cometh of nature ; for, as 


sayth tbe phiiosophre, a man is a quick thing, by 
nature debonaire^ and tretable to goodnesse : but 
whan debonairtee is enformed of g^ce, than it is 
the more worth. 

Patience is another remedy ayenst ire, and is a 
vertue that sufiereth swetely every mannes good- 
nesse, and is not wroth for non harme that is d(Ni 
to him. The philosophre sayth, that patience is 
the vertue that sufireth debonairly al the outrage of 
adversitee, and every wicked word. This vertue 
maketh a man like to God, and maketh him God- 
des owen childe : as sayth Crist. This vertue dis- 
cdmfiteth thin enemies. And therfore sayth the 
wise man ; if thou wolt vanquish thin enemie, see 
thou be patient. And thou shalt understond, that 
a man suffereth foure maner of grevances in outward 
thinges, ayenst the which foure he must have foure 
maner of patiences. 

The first grevance is of wicked wordes. Thilke 
grevance sufired Jesu Crist, without grutching, ful 
patiently, whan the Jewes despised him and re- 
preved him ful oft. Suffer thou therfore patiently, 
for the wise man saith : if thou strive with a foole, 
though the foole be wroth, or though he laugh, 
algate thou shalt have no reste. That other gre- 
vance outward is to have domage of thy catei* 


rherayenst suiBfred Crist ful patiently, whan be was 
lespoiled of al that he had in this lif, and that n'as 
}ut his clothes. The thridde grevance is a man to 
liaye hanne in his body. That suffred Crist ful 
patiently in all his passion. The fourthe grevance 
is in. outrageous labour in werkes : wherfore I say, 
that folk that make hir servants to travaile to gre- 
musly, or out of time, as in holy dayes, sothly they 
do gret sinne. Hereayenst suffred Crist ful pa- 
tiently, and taught us patience, whan he bare upon 
bis blessed sholders the crosse, upon which he 
shuld suffer despitous deth. Here may men lerne 
to be patient ; for certes, not only cristen men be 
patient for love of Jesu Crist, and for guerdon of 
the blisful lif that is perdurable, but certes the old 
Payenes, that never were cristened, commendeden 
and useden the vertue of patience. 

A philosophre upon a time, that wold have beten 
[lis disciple for his gret trespas, for which he was 
^tly meved, and brought a yerde to bete the 
childe, and whan this child sawe the yerde, he sayd 
to his maister : what thinke ye to do? I wol bete 
thee, sayd the maister, for thy correction. For- 
soth, sayd the childe, ye ought first correct your- 
self, that have lost all your patience for the offence 
of a child. Forsooth, sayd the maister all weping, 


thou sayest sjoth: have, thou the yerde; tny dei^ 
sone, and correct me for min impatience, ' Of pa- 
tience cometh obedience, thurgh which ^. man is 
obedient to Crist, and to all hem 16 which he ought 
to be obedient in Crist. And understand wel, that 
obedience is parfite, whan that a man doth gladly 
and hastily, with good herte entirely all that he 
shuld do. Obedience generally, is to performe 
hastily the doctrine of God, and of his soveraines, 
to which him ought to be obeisant in all rightwise^ 

De Acadia, 

After the sinne of wrath, now wol I speke of 
the sinne of accidie, or slouth : for envie blindeth 
the herte of a man, and ire troubleth a man, and 
accidie maketh him bevy, thoughtful, and wrawe. 
Envie and ire maken bitternesse in herte, which 
bitternesse is mother of accidie, and benimeth him 
the love of alle goodnesse ; than is accidie the 
anguish of a trouble herte. And Seint Augustine 
sayth: It is annoye of goodnesse and annoye of 
harme. Certes this is a damnable sinne, for it doth 
wrong to Jesu Crist, in as moche as it benimeth 
the service that men shulde do to Crist with .alle 
diligence, as sayth Salomon : but accidie doth non 


swiche diligence. He doth all thing with annoye, 
and with wrawnesse, slaknesse, and excusation, 
with idlenesse and unlust. For which the book 
sayth: Accursed be he that doth the service of 
God negligently. Than is accidie enemie to every 
estate of man. For certes the estate of man is in 
three maners : either it is the estate of innocence, 
as was the estate of Adam, before that he fell into 
sinne, in which estate he was holden to werk, as in 
herying and adoring of God. Another estate is 
the estate of sinful men: in which estate men ben 
holden to labour in praying to God, for araende- 
ment f hir sinnes^ and that he wold graunt hem to 
rise out of hir sinnes. Another estate is the estate 
of grace, in which estate he is holden to werkes of 
penitence : and certes to all thise thinges is accidie 
enemie and contrary, for he loveth no besinesse at 
all. Now certes, this foule sinne of accidie is eke 
a ful gret enemie to the livelode of the body ; for 
it ne hath no purveaunce ayenst temporel neces- 
sitee ; for it forsleutheth, forsluggeth, and destroieth 
all goodes temporel by recchelesnesse. 

The fourth thing is that accidie is like hem that 
ben in the peine of helle, because of hir slouthe and 
of hir hevinesse : for they that be damned, ben so 
bound, that they may neyther do wel ne think wel. 

78 THE P£R80N£S TALE. 

Of accidie cometh first, that a man is annoied and 
accombred to do any goodnesse, and that maketh 
that God hath abhomination of swiche accidie, as 
sayth Seint John. 

Now cometh slouthe, that wol not sufire no hard- 
nesse ne no penance : for sothly, slouthe is so 
tendre and so delicat, as sayth Salomon, that he 
wol sufire non hardnesse ne penance, and th^ore 
he shendeth all that he doth. Ayenst this roten 
sinne of accidie and slouthe shuld men exercise 
hemself, and use hemself to do good werkes, and 
manly and vertuously cachen corage wel to do, 
thinking that our Lord Jesu Crist quiteth every 
good deed, be it never so lite. Usage of laboar is 
a gret thing : for it maketh, as sayth Seint Bernard, 
the labourer to have strong armes and hard sinewes '• 
and slouthe maketh hem feble and tendre. Than 
cometh drede for to beginne to werke any good 
werkes : for certes, he that enclineth to sinne, him 
thinketh it is to gret an emprise for to undertake 
the werkes of goodnesse, and casteth in his hertei 
that the circumstances of goodnesse ben so grevoos 
and so chargeant for to suffire, that he dare not un- 
dertake to do werkes of goodnesse, as sayth Seint 

Now cometh wanhope, that is, despeir of the 


of God, that cometh somtime of to moche 
ious sorwe^ and somtime of to moche drede, 
ng that he hath do so moche sinnC) that 
e not availe him, though he wolde repent 
id forsake sinne : thurgh which despeire or 
he abandoneth all his herte to every maner 
as sayth Seint Augustine. Which dampna- 
ie, if it continue unto his end, it is cleped 
ae of the holy gost. This horrible sinne id 
lous, that he that is despeired, th'er n'is no 
ne no sinne, that he douteth for to do, as 
wel by Judas. Certes, aboven all sinnes 
this sinne most displesismt and most adver- 
• Crist. Sothly, he that despeireth him, is 
the coward champion recreant, that flieth 
;en nede. Alas! alas! nedeles is he re- 
and nedeles despeired. Certes, the mercy 
is ever redy to the penitent person, and is 
all his werkes. Alas ! cannot a man be- 
him on the Gospel of Seint Luke, chap. xv. 
Crist sayeth, that as wel shal ther be joye 
sn upon a sinful man that doth penitence, 
1 ninety and nine rightful men that neden no 
ce ? Loke further in the same Gospel, the 
d the feste of the good man that had lost his 
rhan his sone was retoumed with repentance 
ader. Can they not remembre hem also, (as 


sayth Seint Luke, chap, xxiii.) bow that the thefe 
that was hongcd beside Jesu Crist, sayd. Lord, re- 
membre on me, whan thou comest in thy regne ? 
Forsoth, said Crist, I say to thee, to-day shalt thou 
be with me in paradis. Certes, ther is non so hor- 
rible sinne of man, that ne may in his lif be de- 
stroyed by penitence, thurgh vertue of the passion 
and of the deth of Crist, Alas ! what nedeth man 
than to be despeired, sith that his mercy is so redy 
and large ? Axe and have. Than cometh sompno- 
lence, that is, sluggy slumbring, which maketh a man 
bevy, and dull in body and in soule, and this sinne 
cometh of siouthe : and certes, the time that by 
way of reson man shuld not slepe, is by the morve 
but if ther were cause resonable. For sothly in the 
morwe tide is most covenable to man to say bis 
prayers, and for to think on God, and to honour 
God, and to yeve almesse to the poure that comen 
first in the name of Jesu Crist* Lo, what sayth Sa- 
lomon ? Who so wol by the morwe awake to seke 
me, he shal find me. Than cometh negligence or 
recchelesnesse that recketh of nothing. And 
though that ignorance be mother of all harmes, 
certes, negligence is the norice. Negligence ne 
doth no force, whan he shal do a thing, whether he 
do it wel or badly. 

«om AHie of thise two sinnes is as sayth the 



■wise man, that he that dredeth God, spareth not to 
do that him ought to do ; and he that loveth God, 
he wol do diligence to plese God by his werkes, 
and abandon himself, with all his might, wel for to 
do. Than cometh idelnesse, that is the yate of all 
harmes. An idel man is like to a place that hath 
no walles ; theras deviles may enter on every side, 
or shoot at him at discoverte by temptation on every 
side. This idelnesse is the thurrok of all wicked 
and yilains thoughtes, and of all jangeles, trifles, 
and all ordure. Certes heven is yeven to hem that 
will labour, and not to idel folk. Also David sayth, 
they ne be not in the labour of men, ne they shul 
not ben whipped with men, that is to say, in purga- 
torie. Certes than semeth it they shul ben tor- 
mented with the devil in helle, but if they do pe-. 

Than cometh the sinne that men clepen Tarditas 
as whan a man is latered, or taryed or he wol tourne 
to God : and certes, that is a gret folic. He is like 
him that falleth in the diche, and wol not arise. 
And this vice cometh of false hope, that thinketh that 
he shal live long, but that hope failleth ful oft. 

Than cometh Lachesse, that is, he that whan he 
beginneth any good werk, anon he wol forlete it and 
stint, as don they that have any wight to governe, 



and ne take of him no more kepe, anon as they find 

any contrary or any annoy. Thise ben the newe 

shepherdes, that let hir shepe wetingly go renne to 

the wolf, that is in the breres, and do no force of 

hir owen governance. Of this cometh poverte and 

destruction, both of spirituel and temporel tfainges. 

Than cometh a maner coldnesse, that freseth Ul 

the herte of man. Than cometh undevotion, thnrgii 

which a man is so blont, as sayth Seint Bernard; 

and hath swiche langour in his sonle, tiiat he may 

neyther rede ne sing in holy chirche, ne here tut 

thinke of ho devotion, ne trataile iHth his hondes 

in ho good werk, that it n'is to him tinsavoify and 

all apalled. Than weteth he sluggish and sloiAbry, 

and sone wol he be wroth, and sone is enclined td 

hate and to envie. Than cometh the sinne ^ 

worldly sorwe swiche as is cleped TristiHa, that 

sleth a man, as sayth Seitit Poule. For certes 

swiche sorwe werketh to the deth of the soule aad 

of the body also, for therof cometh, that a man is 

annoied of his owen lif. Wherfore swiche sorwe 

shorteth the lif of many a man, or that his titte is 

come by way of kinde. 

Remedium Accidia. 

Atenst this horrible sinne of accidie, and the 
braunches of the same, ther is a vertue that is caUed 


fortitudo or strength^ that is, an affection, thurgh 
which a man despiseth noyous thinges. This yer- 
tne is so mighty and so vigorous, that it dare with- 
stond mightily, and wrastle ayenst the assautes of 
the devil, and wisely kepe himself fro periles that 
ben wicked; for it enhaunseth and enforceth the 
sottle, right as accidie abateth and maketh it feble : 
for this fortitti4o may endure with long sufferance 
the travailles that ben covenable. 

This vertue hath many spices; the first iscleped 
magnanimitee, that is to say, gret corage. For 
certes ther behoveth gret courage ayenst accidie, 
lest that it swalowe the soule by the sinne of sorwe, 
or destroy it with wanhope. Certes, this vertue 
aaketh folk to undertake hard and grevous thinges 
by hir ow^n will, wisely and resonably. And for 
%B moche as the devil fighteth ayenst man more by 
9«eiiiti8e and sleight than by strength, therfore shal 
a mwa. withstond him by wit, by reson, and by dis- 
cretion. Than ben ther the vertues of feith, and 
hope in God and in his fieintes, to acheven and ac- 
coflSf^ice the good werkes, in the which he pur- 
poseth fermely to continue. Than comelii seuretee 
Or sikemesse, and that is whan a man ne douteth 
Oo travaile in time coming of the good werkes that 
lie hath begOBne. Than cometh magnificence, that 


is to say, whan a man doth and performeth gret 
werkes of goodnesse, that he hath begonne, and 
that is the end why that men shuld do good werkes. 
For in the accomplishing of good werkes lieth the 
gret guerdon. Than is ther Constance, that is 
stablenesse of corage, and this shuld be in herte by 
stedfast feith, and in mouth, and in bering, in chere, 
and in dede. Eke ther ben mo special remedies 
ayenst accidie, in divers werkes, and in considera- 
tion of the peines of helle and of the joyes of heven, 
and in trust of the grace of the holy gost, that will 
yeve him might to performe his good entent. 

De Avaritid. 

After accidie wol I speke of avaricey and of co- 
veitise. Of which sinne Seint Poule sayth : The 
rote of all harmes is coveitise. For sothly, whan 
the herte of man is confounded in itself and troubled, 
and that the soule hath lost the comfort of God, 
than seketh he an idel solas of worldly thinges. 

Avarice, after the description of Seint Augustine, 
is a likerousnesse in herte to have erthly thinges. 
Som other folk sayn, that avarice is for to purchase 
many erthly thinges, and nothing to yeve to hem 
that ban nede. And understond wel, that avarice 
standeth not only in land ne catel, but som time in 


science and in glorie, and in every maner outrage- 
ous thing is avarice. And the difference betwene 
avarice and coveitise is this : coveitise is for to co- 
veit swiche thinges as thou hast not ; and avarice is 
to withholde and kepe swiche thinges as thou hast, 
'without rightful nede. Sothly, this avarice is a 
sinne that is ful dampnable, for all holy writ curseth 
it^ and speketh ayenst it, for it doth wrong to Jesu 
Crist ; for it bereveth him the love that men to him 
owen, and tourneth it backward ayenst all reson, 
and maketh that the avaricious man hath more hope 
in his catel than in Jesu Crist, and doth more ob- 
servance in keping of his tresour, than he doth in 
the service of Jesu Crist. And therfore sayth Seint 
Poul, That an avaricious man is the thraldome of 

What difference is ther betwix an idolastre, and 
an avaricious man ? But that an idolastre peraven- 
ture ne hath not but o maumet or two, and the ava- 
ricious man hath many : for certes, every florein in 
his coffre is' his maumet. And certes, the sinne of 
maumetrie is the first that God defended in the ten 
commandments, as bereth witnesse, Exod, Cap. xx. 
Thou shalt have no false goddes before me, ne thou 
shalt make to thee no gi'aven thing. Thus is an 
avaricious man, that loveth his tresour before God, 


an idolastre. And thurgb this cursed sinne of ava- 
rice and coveitise cometh thise hard lordships, 
thurgh which men ben distreined by tallages, cos- 
tomes, and cariages, more than hir dutee or reson 
is : and eke take they of hir bondmen amercementes, 
which might more resonably be called extortions 
than amercementes. Of which amercementes, or 
raunsomiug of bondmen, som lordes stewaxdes say, 
that it is rightful, for as moche as a cherl hath no 
temporel thing, that it ne is his lordes, as they say. 
But certes, thise lordshippes don wrong, that bere- 
ven hir bondmen thinges that they never yave hem. 
AugusHnus de Civitate dei, Libro ix. Soth is, that tlie 
condition of thraldom, and the first cause of thral- 
dom was for sinne. Genesis v. 

Thus may ye see, that the gilt deserved thraldoDi, 
but not nature. Wherfore thise lordes ne shuld 
not to moche glorifie hem in hir lordshipes, sith 
that they be naturel condition ben not lordes of hir 
thralles, but that thraldom came first by the de- 
serte of sinne. And furtherover, ther as the lawe 
sayth, that temporel goodes of bondfolk ben- the 
goodes of hir lord : ye, that is for to understond, the 
goodes of the emperour, to defend hem in Iht right, 
but not to robbe hem ne to reve hcan. Therfore 
sayth Seneca: The prudent shuld Hre benignely 


with tbe^thral. Tho that thou clepest Ithy thraUes, 
ben Goddes peple: for humble folk ben Cristas 
frende^ ; tbey ben contubernial with the Lord thy 

Thinke also, that of swiche seed as cherles 
springen of swiche seed spri^gen lordes : as wel 
may the cherl be say.ed as the Lord. The same deth 
that taketh the cher), swiche deth taketh the Lord. 
Wherfore I rede, do right so with thy cherl as thou 
wjoldest that thy Lord did with thee, if thou were in 
his plight. Every sinful man is a. cherl to sinne: I 
rede thee^ thou Lord, that thou reule thee in swiche 
wise, that thy cherjies rather love thee than drede 
thee. I wote wel, that ther is degree above degree, 
as reson is, and skill is, that men do hir devoir, ther 
as it is due: but certes> extortion, and despit of 
your runderlinges, is dampnable.- 

And furthermore unde^rstond wel, that thise con- 
queioureS'Or tyrantes maken ful oft thralles of hem, 
that ben borne of as roy^l hlood as ben they that 
hem couqueren . This name of Thraldom was 
erst couthe, til that Noe sayd, that his sone Cham 
shuld be thrall to his brethren for his sinne. What 
say we than of hem that pille and don extortions to 
holy Cbirche? Certes, the swerd that men yeven 
first to a knight whan he is newe dubbed, signifieth, 


that he shuld defend holy Chirche, and not robbe it 
ne pille it : and who so doth is traitour to Crist. As 
saith Seint Augustine, Tho ben the devils wolves, 
that strangelen the shepe of Jesu Crist, and don 
worse than wolves : for sothly, whan the wolf hath 
full his wombe, he stinteth to strangle shepe : but 
sothly, the pillours and destroiers of holy Chirches 
goodes ne do not so, for they ne stint never to pille. 
Now as 1 have sayd, sith so is, that sinne was first 
' cause of thraldom, than is it thus, that at the time 
that all this world was in sinne, than was all this 
world in thraldom, and in subjection : but certes, 
sith the time of grace came, God ordeined, that som 
folk shuld be more high in estate and in degree, 
and som folk more lowe, and that everich shuld be 
served in his estate and his degree. And therfore 
in som con trees ther as they ben thralles, whan they 
have toumed hem to the feith, they make hir' 
thralles free out of thraldom : and therfore certes 
the Lord oweth to his man, that the man oweth to 
the Lord. The Pope clepeth himself servant of the 
servants of God. But for as moche as the estate of 
holy Chirche ne might not have ben, ne the com- 
mun profite might not have be kept, ne pees ne rest 
in erthe, but if God had ordeined, that som men 
have higher degree^ and som men lower ; therfore 


was soveraintee ordeined to kepe, and mainteine, 
and defend hire underlinges or hire subjeetes in re- 
son, as ferforth as it lieth in hire power, and not to 
destroy hem ne confound. Wherfore 1 say, that 
thilke lordes that ben like wolves, that devoure the 
possessions or the catel of poure folk wrongfully, 
withouten mercy or mesure, they shul receive by the 
same mesure that they have mesured to poure folk 
the mercy of Jesu Crist, but they it amende. Now 
Cometh deceit betwix marchant and marchant. And 
thou shalt understond, that marchandise is in two 
maners, that on is bodily, and that other is gostly : 
that on is honest and leful, and that other is dis- 
honest and unleful. The bodily marchandise, that 
is leful and honest, is this : that ther as God hath 
ordeined, that a regne or a contree is suffisant to 
himself, than it is honest and leful, that of the ha- 
boundaunce of this contree men helpe another con- 
tree that is nedy : and therfore ther must be mar- 
chants to bring fro on contree to another hir mar- 
chandise. That other marchandise, thatmen haunten 
with fraude, and trecherie, and deceit, with lesinges 
and false othes, is right cursed and dampnable. 
Spirituel marchandise is proprely simonie, that is, 
ententif desire to buy thing spirituel, that is, thing 
which apperteineth to the seintuarie of God, and to 


the cure of the soule. This desire, if so be that a 
man do his diligence to performe i;t, al be it that his 
desire ne take non effect, yet it is to him a dedly 
sinne : and if he be ordered, he is irreguler. Certes 
simonie is cleped of Simon Magus^ that wold have 
bought for temporel catel the yefte that God bad 
yeven by the holy gost to Seint Peter, and to the 
Apostles : and therfore understond ye that both he 
that selleth and he that byeth thinges spirituel ben 
called Simoniackes, be it by catel, be it by procuring, 
or by fleshly praier of his frendes fleshly frendes, 
or spirituel frendes, fleshly in two maners, as by 
kinrede or other frendes : sothly, if they pray for 
him that is not worthy and able, it is «imonie, if he 
take the benefice : and if he be worthy and able, 
ther is non. That other maner is, whan man, or 
woman, prayeth for folk to avancen hem only for 
wicked fleshly affection which they have ttftto the 
persons, and that is foule simonie. But ccartes^ in 
service, for which men yeven thinges spirituel unto 
hir servants, it must be understonde, that the, .ser- 
vice must be honest, or elles not, and also^ that it 
be without bargaining, and that the person be able. 
For (as sayth Seint Damascen) all the sinnes of the 
world, at regard of this sinne, ben as thing of 
nought, for it is the gretest sinne that may be after 


T&E P£RSt)H£S TALE. 91 

the sinne of Lucifer and of Anticrist : for by this 
sinne God fotleseth the chirche and the soule, 
which he bought with his precious blood, by hem 
that yeven chilrches to hem that ben not digne, for 
they put in theves, that stelen the soules of Jesu 
Crist, and desttoyen his patrimonie. By swiche 
nndigne preestes and curates, han lewed men lesse 
reverence of the sacramentes of holy chirche : and 
swiche yevers of chirches put the children of Crist 
out, and put into chirches the divels owen sones : 
they sellen the soules that lambes shuld kepe to the. 
wolf, which strangleth hem: andtherfore shall they 
never have part of the pasture of lambes, that is, in 
th6 blisse of heven. 'Now cometh hasardrie with 
his apertentfttntes, as tables and rafles, of which 
cometh deceit, false othes, chidings, and all raving, 
blaspheming, and reneying of God, hate of his 
neyghbours, wast of goodes, mispending of time, 
and somthne manslaughter. Certes, hasardours 
ne mow not be without grete sinne. Of avarice 
comen eke lesinges, theft, false witnesse, and false 
oth^s : and ye shul understonde, that these be gret 
sinnes, and expresse ayenst the commandements of 
God, as I have sayd. False witnesse is eke in 
word, and in ded'e : in word, as for to bereve thy 
neighbours good feiame by Ihy false witnesse, or 
befeve ikim bU ^Atel or %i8 -heritage by thy false 

■"■»• •■*- 


witnessing, whan thou for ire, or for mede, or for 
envie, barest false witnesse, or accusest hem, or ex- 
cusest thyself falsely. Ware ye questmongers and 
notaries : certes, for false witnessing, was Susanna 
in ful gret sorwe and peine, and many another mo. 
The sinne of theft is also expresse ayenst Goddes 
hest, and that in two maners, temporel, and spiri- 
tuel : the temporel theft is, as for to take thy neigh- 
bours catel ayenst his will, be it by force or by 
sleight ; be it in meting or mesure ; by steling ; by 
false enditements upon him; and in borowing of 
thy neighbours catel, in entent never to pay it 
ayen, and semblable thinges. Spirituel theft is sa- 
crilege, that is to say, hurting of holy thinges, or 
of thinges sacred to Crist, in two maners ; by reson 
of the holy place, as chirches or chirches hawes; 
(for every vilains sinne, that men don in swiche 
places, may be called sacrilege, or every violence 
in semblable places) also they that withdrawe falsely 
the rentes and rightes that longen to holy chirche ; 
and plainly and generally, sacrilege is to reve holy 
thing fro holy place, or unholy thing out of holy 
place, or holy thing out of unholy place. 

Remedium Avaritia. 

Now shul ye un4erstond, that releving of avarice 
is misericorde and pitee largely taken. And men 


might ase, why that misericorde and pitee are re- 
leving of avarice; certes, the avaricious man shew- 
eth no pitee he misericorde to the nedeful man. 
For he delit^th hiin in the keping of his tresour, and 
not in the resooiiing ne releving of his even Cristen. 
And therfore speke I first of misericorde. Than is 
misericorde (as sayth the Philosophre) a vertue, by 
which the corage of man is stirred by the misese of 
him that is misesed. Upon which misericorde 
foloweth: pitee, in performing and fulfilling of cha- 
ritable werkes of mercie, helping and comforting 
him that is misesed. And certes, this meveth a 
man to misericorde of Jesu Crist, that he yave him- 
self for our offence, and suffred deth for misericorde, 
and foryaf us our original sinnes, and therby re- 
lesed us fro the peine of hell, and amenused .the 
peines of purgatory by penitence, and yeveth us 
grace wel to do, and at last the blisse of heven. 
The spices of misericorde ben for to lene, and eke 
for to yeve, and for to foryeve and relese, and for 
to have pitee in herte, and compassion of the mis- 
chefe of his even Cristen, and also to chastise ther 
as nede is. Another maner of remedy ayenst ava- 
rice, is resonable largesse : but sothly, here beho- 
veth the consideration of the grace of Jesu Crist, 
and of the temporel goodes, and also of the goodes 


perdurable that Jesu Crist yave to us, and to have 
remembrance of the deth which he shal receirey he 
wote not whan : and eke that he shal forgon all 
that he hath, save only that which he hath dispen- 
ded in good werkes. 

But for as moche as som folk ben unmesurable, 
men oughten for to avoid and eschue foollargesse, 
the whiche men clepen waste. Certes, he that is 
fool-large, he yeveth not his catel, but he leseth 
his catel. Sothly, what thing that he yeyeth for 
yaine-glory, as to minstrals, and to folk that bere 
his renome* in the world, he hath do sinne therof, 
and non almesse : certes, he leseth foule his good, 
that ne seketh with the yefte of his good nothing 
but sinne. He is like to an hors that seeketh ra- 
ther to drink drovy or troubled water, dian fog to 
drink water of the clere well. And for as moch^ 
as they yeven ther as they shuld nat yeven, to keQi 
apperteineth thilke malison, that Crist shal yeye at 
the day of dome to hem that shul be dampned. 

De Guld. 

Apter avarice eometh glotonie, which is ezpresse 
ayenst the commandement of Ood. Glotonie is 
uianesurable appetit to ete or to driake : or elles to 
do in ought to the unmesurable appetk and disor- 


deined coveitise to ete or drinke. This sinne cor- 
rupted all this world, as is wel shewed in the sinne 
of Adam and of Eve. Loke also what sayth Seint 
Poule of glotonie. Many (sayth he) gon, of which 
I have ofte said to you, and now I say it weping, 
that they ben the enemies of the crosse of Crist, of 
which the end is deth, and of which hir wombe is 
hir Gh>d and hir glorie ; in confusion of hem that so 
serven erthly thinges. He that is usant to this 
sintie of glotonie, he ne may no sinne withstond, he 
must be in servage of all vices, for it is the devils 
horde, ther he hideth him and resteth. This sinne 
hath many spices. The first is dronkennesse, that 
is the horrible sepulture of mannes reson: and 
therfore whan a man is dronke, he hath lost his 
reson: and this is dedly sinne. But sothly, whan 
that A man is not wont to strong drinkes, and pera- 
tenture ne knoweth not the strength of the drinke, 
of hath feblenesse in his bed, or hath travailled 
thurgh which he drinketh the more, al be he so- 
denly caaght with drinke, it is no dedly sinne, but 
venial. The second spice of glotonie is, that the 
i^it of a man wexeth all trouble for dronkenne&se, 
and bereveth a man the discretion of his wit. The 
thridde spice of glotonie is, whan a man devoureth 
bis mete, and hath not rightful maner of eting. 


The fourthe is, whan thurgh the gret abundance of 
his mete, the humours in his body ben distempered. 
The fifthe is, foryetfulnesse by to moche drinking, 
for which sometime a man forgeteth by the morwe, 
what he did over eve. 

In other maner ben distinct the spices of gloto- 
nie, after Seint Gregorie. The first is, for to ete 
before time, llie second is, whan a man geteth 
him to delicat mete or drinke. The thridde is, whan 
men taken to moche over mesure. The fourth, is 
curiositee, with gret entent to maken and appareille 
his mete. The fifth is, for to ete gredily. Thise 
ben the five fingers of the devils bond, by which he 
draweth folk to the sinne. 

Remedium Gula, 

Atenst glotonie the remedie is abstinence, as 
sayth Galien : but that I holde not meritorie, if he 
do it only for the hele of his body. Seint Augus- 
tine wol that abstinence be don for vertue, and with 
patience. Abstinence (sayth he) is litel worth, but 
if a man have good will therto, and but it be en- 
forced by patience and charitee, and that men don 
it for Goddes sake, and in hope to have the blisse 
in heven. 

The felawes of abstinence ben attemperancey that 


holdeth the mene in alle thinges ; also shame, that 
escheweth all dishonestee, suffisance, that seketh 
no riche metes ne drinkes, ne doth no force of non 
outrageous appareilling of mete ; mesure also, that 
restreineth by reson the unmesurable appetit of 
eting: sobernesse also, that restreineth the out- 
rage of drinke ; sparing also, that restreineth the 
delicat ese, to sit long at mete, wherfore som folk 
standen of hir owen will whan they ete, because 
they wol ete at lesse leiser. 

De Luxurid. 

After glotonie cometh lecherie, for thise two 
sinnes ben so nigh cosins, that oft time they wol 
not depart. God wote this sinne is ful disple- 
sant to God, for he said himself; Do no lecherie. 
And therfore he putteth gret peine ay ens t this sinne. 
For in the old lawe, if a woman thrall were taken in 
this sinne, she shuld be beten with staves to the 
deth : and if she were a gentilwoman, she shuld be 
slain with stones: and if she were a bishoppes 
doughter, she shuld be brent by Goddes comman- 
dement. Moreover, for the sinne of lecherie God 
dreint all the world, and after that he brent five 
citees with thonder and lightning, and sanke hem 
doun into hell. 



Now let US speke than of the said stinking sinne 
of lecherie, that men clepen avoutrie, that is of 
wedded folk, that is to say, if that on of hem be 
wedded, or elles both. Seint John sayth. That 
avouterers shul ben in helle in a stacke brenning of 
fire and of brimstone, in fire for hir lecherie, in 
brimstone for the stenche of h^r ordure. Certes 
the breking of this sacrament is an horrible thing : 
it was made of God himself in Paradis, and con- 
fermed by Jesu Crist, as witnesseth Seint Mathew 
in the Gospel : a man shal let fader and moder, 
and take him to his wif, and they shal be two in on 
flesh. This sacrament betokeneth the knitting to- 
gether of Crist and holy chirche. And not only 
that God forbade avoutrie in dede, but also he com- 
manded, that thou shuldest not coveit thy neigh- 
boures wif^ In this heste (sayth Seint Augustine) 
is forboden all maner coveitise to do lecherie. Lo, 
what sayth Seint Mathew in the Gospel, That who 
so seeth a woman, to coveitise of his lust, he hath 
don lecherie with hire in his herte. Here may ye 
see, that not only the dede of this sinne is forbodeoa 
but eke the desire to don that sinne. This cursed 
sinne annoyeth grevously hem that it haunt: and 
first to the soule, for he obligeth it to sinne and to 
peine of deth, which is perdurable ; and to the body 


annoyeth it grevously also, for it drieth him and 
wasteth, and shent him, and of his blood he maketh 
sacrifice to the fend of helle : it wasteth eke hi^ catel 
and his substance. And certes, if it be a foule 
thing a man to waste his catel on women, yet is it a 
foaler thing, whan that for swiche ordure women 
dispenden upon men hir catel and hir substance. 
This sinne, as sayth the Prophet, bereveth man and 
woman hir good fame and all hir honour, and it is 
fnl plesant to the devil : for therby winneth he the 
moste partie of this wretched world. And right as 
a marchant deliteth him most in that chaflfare which 
he hath mostavantage and profite of, right so deliteth 
the fend in this ordure. 

This is that other bond of the devil, with five, 
fingers, to cacche the peple to his vilanie. The 
first fingre is the foole loking of the foole woman 
and of the foole man, that sleth right as the Ba- 
silicok sleth folk by venime of his sight: for the 
coveitise of the eyen foloweth the coveitise of the 
herte. The second fingre is the vilains touching in 
Tracked manner. And therfore sayth Salomon, that 
who so toucheth and handleth a woman, he fareth as 
the man that handleth the scorpion, which stingeth 
and sodenly sleth thurgh his enveniming; or as 
who so that toucheth warme pitch it shendeth his 



fingers. The thridde is foule wordes, whiche fareth 
like fire, which right anon brenneth the herte. The 
fourth finger is kissing : and trewely he were a gret 
foole that wold kisse the mouthe of a brenning oven 
or of a foumeis; and more fooles ben they that 
kissen in vilainie, for that mouth is the mouth of 
helle ; and namely thise olde dotardes holours, 
which wol kisse, and flicker, and besie hemself, 
though they may nought do. Certes they ben like 
to houndes : . for an hound when he cometh by the 
roser, or by other busshes, though so be that he may 
not pisse, yet wol he heve up his leg and make a 
contenance to pisse. And for that many man weneth 
that he may not sinne for no likerousnesse that he 
doth with his wif, trewely that opinion is false : God 
wote a man may slee himself with his owen knif, 
and make himself dronken of his owen tonne. Certes 
be it wif, be it childe, or any worldly thing, that he 
loveth before God, it is his maumet, and he is an 
idolastre. A man shuld love his wif by discretion, 
patiently and attemprely, and than is she as though 
it were his suster. The fifth fingre of the divels 
bond, is the stinking dede of lecherie. Trewely the 
five fingers of glotonie the fend puttethin the wombe 
of a man : and with his five fingers of lecherie he 
gripeth him by the reines, for to throwe him into the 


fourneis of helle, ther as they shul have the fire and 
the wonnes that ever shul lasten, and weping and 
way ling, and sharpe hunger and thurst, and grisU- 
nesse of divels, whiche shul all to-trede hem with- 
outen respite and withouten ende. Of lecherie, as 
I sayd, sourden and springen divers spices : as for- 
nicatian, that is betwene man and woman which ben 
not marled, and is dedly sinne, and ayenst nature. 
All that is enemy and destruction to nature, is 
ayenst nature. Parfay the reson of a man eke 
telleth him wel that it is dedly sinne ; for as moche 
as God forbad lecherie. And Seint Poule yeveth 
hem the regne, that n'is dewe to no wight but to 
hem that don dedely sinne. Another sinne of 
lecherie is, to bereven a maid of hire maidenhed, 
for be that so doth, certes he casteth a mayden out 
of the highest degree that is in this present lif, and 
bereveth hire thilke precious fruit that the book 
clepeth the hundreth fruit. I ne can say it non 
otherwise in English, but in Latine it hight Cente- 
simus fructus, Certes he that so doth, is the cause 
of many damages and vilanies, mo than any man 
can reken : right as he somtime is cause of all dam- 
mages that bestes do in the feld, that breketh the 
hedge of the closure, thurgh which he destroyeth 
that may not be restored : for certes no more may 


maidenhed be restored^ than an arme, that is smitten 
fro the body, may retume ayen and wexe : she may 
have mercy, this wote I wel, if that she have will to 
do penitence, but never shal it be but that she is 
corrupte. And all be it so that I have spoke som- 
what of avoutrie, it is good to shewe the periles that 
longen to avoutrie, for to eschewe that foule sinne. 
Avoutrie, in Latine, is for to saye, approching of an- 
other mannes bedde, thurgh whiche tho, that som- 
time were on fleshe, abandone hir bodies to other 
persons. Of this sinne, as sayth the wise man, 
folow many harmes: firste breking of feith; and 
certes feith is the key of Cristendom, and whan that 
key is broken and lome, sothly Cristendom is lome, 
and stont vaine and without fruit. This sinne also 
is theft, for theft generally is to reve a wight his 
thinges ayenst his will. Certes, this is the foulest 
theft that may be, whan that a woman steleth hire 
body from hire husbond,]and yeveth it to hire holour 
to defoule it : and steleth hire soule fro Crist, and 
yeveth it to the devil : this is a fouler thefte than for 
to breke a chirche and stele away the chalice, for 
thise avouterers breken the temple of God spirituelly, 
and stelen the vessell of grace ; that is the body 
and the soule : for which Criste shal destroy hem, as 
sayth SeintPoule. Sothly of this theft doutedgretly 


Joseph, whan that his Lordes wif prayed him of 
vilaiuie, whan he sayde : Lo, my Lady, how my 
Lord hath take to me under my warde all that he 
hath in this world, ne nothing is out of my power, 
but only ye that ben his wif : and how shuld I than 
do this wickednesse, and sinne so horribly ayenst 
God, and ayenst my Lord ? God it forbede. Alas ! 
all to litel is swiche trouth now yfounde. The 
thridde harme is the filth, thurgh which they breke 
the commandement of God, and defoule the auter 
of matrimonies, that is Crist. For certes, in so 
moche as the sacrament of mariage is so noble and 
so digne, so moche is it the gieter sinne for to breke 
it : for God made mariage in Paradis in the estate 
of innocencie, to multiplie mankinde to the service 
of God, and therfore is the breking therof the more 
grevous, of which breking come false heires oft time, 
that wrongfully occupien folkes heritages : and 
therfore wol Crist put hem out of the regne of heven, 
that is heritage to good folk. Of this breking cometh ' 
eke oft time, that folk unware wedde or sinne with 
hir owen kinrede : and namely thise harlottes, that 
haunten bordelles of thise foule women, that may 
be likened to a commune gong, wheras men purge 
hir ordure. What say we also of putours, that live 
by the horrible sinne of puterie, and constreine wo- 


men to yelde hem a certain rent of hir bodily pn- 
terie, ye, somtime his owen wif or his childe, as don 
thise baudes ? certes, thise ben cursed sinnes. Un- 
derstond also, that avoutrie is set in the ten com- 
mandements betwene theft and manslaughter, for it 
is the gretest theft that may be, for it is theft of 
body and of soule, and it is like to homicide, for it 
kerveth atwo and breketh atwo hem that first were 
made on flesh. And therfore by the old lawe of 
God they shuld be slaine, but nathelesse, by the 
lawe of Jesu Crist, that is the lawe of pitee, whan 
he sayd to the woman that was found in avoutriet 
and shuld have be slain with stones, after the will of 
the Jewes, as was hir lawe ; Go, said Jesu Crist, 
and have no more will to do sinne ; sothly, the ven- 
geance of avoutrie is awarded to the peine of helle, 
bpt if so be that it be discombered by penitence. 
Yet ben ther mo spices of this cursed sinne, as whan 
that on of hem is religious, or elles both, or of folk 
that ben entred into ordre, as sub-deken, deken, or 
preest, or hospitalers : and ever the higher that he 
is in ordre, the greter is the sinne. The thinges 
that gretly agrege hir sinne, is the breking of hir 
avow of chastitee, whan they received the ordre : 
and moreover soth is^ that holy ordre is chefe of all 
the tresorie of God, and is a special signe and marke 


of chastitee, to shew that they ben joined to chas- 
titee, which is the moste precious lif that is : and 
thise ordered folk ben specially titled to God, and 
of the special meinie of God : for which, whan they 
don dedly sinne, they ben the special traitours of 
God and of his peple, for they live by the peple to 
praye for the peple, and whiles they ben swiche 
traitours hir prayeres availe not to the peple. 
Preestes ben as angels, as by the mysterie of hir 
dignitee : but forsoth Seint Poule saith, That Sa- 
thanas transfourmeth him in an angel of light. 
Sothly, the preest that haunteth dedly sinne, he 
may be likened to an angel of derkenesse, trans- 
fourmed into an angel of light : he semeth an angel 
of light, but for soth he is an angel of derkenesse. 
Swiche preestes be the sones of Hely, as is shewed 
in the book of Kinges, that they were the sones of 
Belial, that is, the divel. Belial is to say, withouten 
juge, and so faren they ; hem thinketh that they be 
free, and have no juge, no more than hath a free 
boUy that taketh which cow that him liketh in the 
toun. So faren they by women; for right as on 
free boll is ynough for all a toun, right so is a wicked 
preest corruption ynough for all a parish, or for all 
a countree : thise preestes, as sayth the book, ne 
cannot minister the mysterie of preesthood to the 


peple, ne they knowe not God, ne they hold hem 
not apaied, as saith the book, of sodden flesh that 
was to hem offred, but they take hy force the flesh 
that is raw. Certes, right so thise shrewes ne hold 
hem not apaied of rosted flesh and sodden, with 
which the peple feden hem in gret reverence, but 
they wol have raw flesh as folkes wives and hir 
doughters : and certes, thise women that consenten 
to hir harlotrie, don gret wrong to Crist and to holy 
Chirche, and to all Halowes, and to all Soules, for 
they bereven all thise hem that shuld worship Crist 
and hotly Chirche, and pray for Cristen soules : and 
therfore han swicKe preestes, and hir lemmans also 
that consenten to hir lecherie, the malison of the 
court Cristen, til they come to amendement. The 
thridde spice of avoutrie is somtime betwix a man 
and his wif, and that is, whan they take no regard 
in hir assembling but only to hir fleshly delit, as 
saith Seint Jerome, and ne recken of nothing but 
that they ben assembled because they ben maried ; 
all is good ynough, as thinketh to hem. But in 
swiche folk hath the divel power, as said the angel 
Raphael to Tobie, for in hir assembling, they putten 
Jesu Crist out of hir herte, and yeven hemself to all 
ordure. The fourth spice is of hem that assemble 
with hir kinrede, or with hem that ben of on affinitee. 


or elles with hem with which hir fathers or hir kinred 
have deled in the sinne of lecherie: this sinne 
maketh hem like to houndes, that taken no kepe of 
kinrede. And certes, parentele is in two maners : 
eyther gostly or fleshly : gostly, is for to delen with 
hir godsibbes : for right so as he that engendreth a 
child, is his fleshly father, right so is his godfather 
his father spirituel : for which a woman may in no 
lesse sinne assemble with hire godsib, than with hir 
owen fleshly broder. The fifthe spice is that abho- 
minable sinne, of which abhominable sinne no man 
unneth ought to speke ne write, natheles it is openly 
rehersed in holy writ. This cursednesse don men 
and women in diverse entent and in diverse maner : 
but though that holy writ speke of horrible sinne^ 
cartes holy writ may not be defouled, no more than 
the sonne that shineth on the myxene. Another 
sinne apperteineth to lecherie, that cometh in slep- 
ing, and this sinne cotneth often to hem that ben 
maidens, and eke to hem that ben corrupt ; and this 
sinne men call pollution, that cometh of foure ma- 
ners ; somtime it cometh of languishing of the body, 
for the humours ben to ranke and haboundant in 
the body of man ; somtime of infirmitee, for feble- 
nesse of the vertue retentif^ as phisike maketh men- 
tion ; somtime of surfet of mete and drinke ; and 


somtime of vilains thoughtes that ben enclosed in 
mannes minde whan he goth to slepe, which may 
not be withouten sinne ; for whiche men must kepe 
hem wisely, or elles may they sinne tul grevously. 

Remedium luxu r<e. 

Now Cometh the remedy ayenst lecherie, and that 
is generally chastitee and continence, that restreineth 
all disordinate mevings that comen of fleshly ta- 
lents : and ever the greter merite shal he have that 
most restreineth the wicked enchaufing or ardure of 
this sinne; and this is in two maners : that is to say, 
chastitee in mariage, and chastitee in widewhood. 
Now shalt thou understonde, that matrimony is 
leful assembling of man and woman, that receiven 
by vertue of this sacrement the bonde, thurgh 
whiche they may not be departed in all hir lif, that 
is to say, white that they live bothe. This, as saith 
the book, is a ful gret sacrement ; God made it (as 
I have said) in paradis, and wold himself be borne 
in mariage : and for to halowe mariage he was at a 


wedding, wheras he tourned water into wine, 
whiche was the first miracle that he wrought in erthe 
before his disciples. The trewe effect of mariage 
clenseth fornication, and replenisheth holy chirche 
of good lignage, for that is the ende of mariage, and 


chaungeth dedly sinne into venial sinne betwene 
hem that ben wedded, and maketh the hertes all on 
of hem that ben ywedded, as wel as the bodies. 
This is veray manage that was established by God, 
er that sinne began, whan naturel lawe was in his 
right point in paradis ; and it was ordeined, that o 
man shuld have bat o woman, and o woman but o 
man, as sayth Seint Augustine, by many resons. 

First, for manage is figured betwix Crist and holy 
chirche ; and another is, for a man is hed of the wo- 
man ; (algate by ordinance it shuld be so ;) for if a 
woman had mo men than on, than shuld she have 
mo hedes than on, and that were an horrible thing 
before God ; and also a woman mighte not plese 
many folk at ones : and also ther shuld never be pees 
ne rest among hem, for everich of hem wold axe his 
owen right. And furthermore, no man shuld knowe 
his owen engendrure, ne who shuld have his heri- 
tage, and the woman shuld be the lesse beloved for 
the time that she were conjunct to many men. 

Now Cometh how that a man shuld here him with 
his wif, and namely in two thin ges, that is to say, in 
sufirance and in reverence, and this shewed Crist 
whan he firste made woman. For he ne made hire 
of the hed of Adam, for she shuld not claime to gret 
lordshippe ; for ther as the woman hath the maistrie, 


she maketh to moche disarray : ther nede non en- 
samples of this, the experience that we have day by 
day ought ynough suffice. Also certes^ God ne 
made uot woman of the foot of Adam, for she shuld 
not be holden to lowe, for she cannot patiently suf- 
fer : but God made woman of the rib of Adam, for 
woman shuld be felaw unto man. Man shuld here 
him to his wif in feith, in trouth, and in love ; as 
sayth Seint Poule, that a man shuld love his wif, as 
Crist loved holy chirche, that loved it so wel that he 
died for it : so shuld a man for his wif, if it were 

Now how that a woman shuld be subget to hire 
husbond, that telleth Seint Peter ; first in obedience. 
And, eke as sayth the decree, a woman that is a wif, 
as long as she is a wif^ she hath non auctoritee to 
swere ne here witnesse, without leve of hire hus- 
bonde, that is hire lord ; algate he shuld be so by 
reson. She shuld also serve him in all honestee, 
and ben attempre of hire array. I wete wel that 
th6y shuld set hir entent to plese hir husbonds, but 
not by queintise of hir array. Seint Jerom sayth : 
wives that ben appareilled in silke and precious pur- 
ple, ne mow not cloth hem in Jesu Crist. Seint 
Gregorie sayth also : that no wight seketh precious 
array, but only for vain glorie to be honoured the 


more of the peple. It is a gret folie, a woman to 
have a faire array outward, and hireself to be foule 
inward. A wif shuld also be mesurable in loking« 
in bering, and in laughing, and discrete in all hire 
wordes and hire dedes, and above all worldly thinges, 
she shuide love hire husbonde with all hire herte, 
and to him be trewe of hire body : so shuld every 
husbond eke be trewe to his wif: for sith that all 
the body is the husbondes, so shuld hire herte be 
also, or elles ther is betwix hem two, as in that, no 
parfit mariage. Than shul men understond, that for 
three thinges a man and his wif fleshly may assem- 
ble. The first is, for the entent of engendrure of 
children, to the service of God, for certes that is the 
cause final of matrimonie. Another cause is, to 
yelde eche of hem to other the dettes of hir bodies : 
for neyther of hem hath power of his owen bodie. 
The thridde is, for to eschew lecherie and vilanie. 
The fourth is for soth dedly sinne. As to the first, 
it is meritorie: the second also, for, as sayth the 
decree, she hath merite of chastitee, that yeldeth to 
hire husbond the dette of hire body, ye though it be 
* ayenst hire liking, and the lust of hire herte. The 
thridde - maner is venial sinne ; trewely, scarsely 
may any of thise be without venial sinne, for the 
corruption and for the delit therof. The fourth 


maner is for to understond, if they assemble only 
for amourous lore, and for non of the foresaid 
causes, but for to accomplish hir brenning delit, 
they recke not how oft, sothly it is dedly sinne : 
and yet with sorwe, som folk wol peine hem more 
to do, than to hir appetit sufficeth. 

The second maner of chasitee is for to be a clene 
widew, and eschue the embracing of a man, and 
desire the embracing of Jesu Crist. Thise ben tho 
that have ben wives, and have forgon hir husbondes, 
and eke women that have don lecherie, and ben re- 
leved by penance. And certes, if that a wif coud 
kepe hire all chast, by licence of hire husbond, so 
that she yave no cause ne non occasion that he 
agilted, it were to hire a gret merite. This maner 
of women, that observen chastitee, must be clene 
in herte as wel as in body, and in thought^ and me- 
surable in clothing and in contenance, abstinent in 
eting and drinking, in speking, and in dede, and 
than is she the vessel or the boiste of the blessed 
Magdeleine, that fulfilleth holy chirche of good 
odour. The thridde maner of chastitee is virgi- 
nitee, and it behoveth that she be holy in herte^ and 
clene of body, than is she the spouse of Jesu Crist, 
and she is the lif of angels : she is the preising of 
this worlds and she is as thise martirs in egalitee : 


she hath in hire, that tonge may not telle, ne herte 
thinke. Virginitee bare our Lord Jesu Crist, and 
virgin was himself. 

Another remedie against lecherie is specially to 
withdraw swiche thinges, as yeven occasion to that 
vilanie: as ese, eting, and drinking: for certes, 
whan the pot boileth strongly, the best remedie is 
to withdraw the fire. Sleping long in gret quite is 
also a gret nourice to lecherie. 

Another remedie ayenst lecherie is, that a man 
or a woman eschewe the compagnie of hem, by 
which he douteth to be tempted: for all be it so 
that the dede be withstonden, yet is ther gret temp- 
tation. Sothly a white wall, although it ne brenne 
not fully with sticking of a candle, yet is the wall 
black of the leyte. Ful oft time I rede, that no man 
trust in his owen perfection, but he be stronger 
than Samp&on, or holier than David, or wiser than 

Now after that I have declared you as I can of 
the seven dedly sinnes, and som of hir braunches, 
and the remedies, sothly, if I coude, I wold tell you 
the ten commandements, but so high doctrine I lete 
to divines. Natheles, I hope to God they ben 
touched in this tretise everich of hem alle. 

Now for as moche as the second part of peni- 



tence stont in confession of mouth, as I began in 
the first chapitre, I say Seint Augustine saith: 
Sinne is every word and every dede^ and all that 
men coveiten ayenst the law of Jesu Crist; and this 
is for to sinne, in herte, in. mouth, and in dede, by 
the five wittes, which ben sight, hering, smelling, 
tasting or savouring, and feling. Now is it good 
to understond the circumstances, that i^regen 
moche every sinne. Thou shalt consider what thou 
art that dost the sinne, whether thou be male or fe- 
male, yonge or olde, gentil or thrall^ free or servant, 
hole or sike, wedded or single, ordered or unorr- 
dered, wise or foole, clerk ot. seculer ; if she be of 
thy kinred, bodily or gostly, or non ; if any of thy 
kinred have sinned with hire or no, and many mo 

Another circumstaunce is this, whether it be don 
in fornication^ or in advout«e, or no, in maner of 
homicide or non, a horrible gret sinne or smal^ and 
how long thou hast continued in sinne. The thridde 
circumstance is the place, ther thou hast don sinne, 
whether in other mennes houses, or in thin owen, 
in feld^.in chirche, or in chirchhawe, in chirche de- 
dicate, or non. For if the chirche be halowed, 
and man or woman spille his kijade within that 
place, by way of sinne or by wicked temptation^ the 


chirche were enterdited til it were reconciled by the 
Bishop; and if it were a preest that did swiche 
yilanie, the terme of all hia lif he shuld no more 
sing Masse : and if he did, he shuld do dedly sinne, 
at every time that he so song Masse. The fourth 
circumstance is^ by whiche mediatours, as by mes- 
sagersy or for enticement, or for consentment, to here 
compagnie with felawship ; for many a wretche, for 
to bere felawship, wol go to the divel of helle. 
Wherfbre, they that eggen or consenten to the 
siniie, ben partners of the sinne, and of the damp- 
nation of the si^ner. The fifth circumstance is, how 
many times that he hath sinned, if it be in his minde, 
and how oft he hath fallen. For he that oft falleth 
in sinne, he despiseth the mercy of God, and encre- 
seth his sinne, and is unkind to Crist, and he 
waxeth the n^ore feble to withstand sinne, and sin- 
neth the more lightly, and the later ariseth, and is 
more slow to shrive him^ and namely to him that 
bath ben his confessour. For which that folk, whan 
they fall ayen to hir old folies, either they forleten 
hir old .confessour al utterly, or elles they departen 
hir shrift in divers places : but sothly swiche de- 
ps^rted shrift deserveth np mercie pf God for Jhir 
sinnes. The sixte circumstance is, why that a n^an 
sjinneth, a? by what temptation ; and if himself pro- 


cure thilke temptation, or by exciting of other folk ; 
or if he sinne with a woman by force or by hire 
owen assent ; or if the woman maugre hire hed have 
ben enforced or non, this shal she tell, and wheder 
it were for covetise or poverte, and if it were by hire 
procuring or non, and swiche other thinges. The 
seventh circumstance is, in what maner he hath 
don his sinne, or how that she hath suffered that 
folk have don to hire. And the same shal the man 
tell plainly, with all the circumstances, and wheder 
he hath sinned with commun bordel women or noii, 
or don his sinne in holy times or non, in fasting 
times or non, or before his shrift, or after his later 
shrift, and hath peraventure broken therby his pe- 
nance enjoined, by whos helpe or whos conseil, by 
sorcerie or crafte, all must be told. All thise 
thinges, after that they ben gret or smale, engreg- 
gen the conscience of man or woman. And eke 
the preest that is thy juge, may the better be avised 
of his jugement in yeving of penancie, and that shal 
be after thy contrition. For understond wel, that 
after the time that a man hath defouled his bap- 
tisme by sinne, if he wol come to salvation, ther is 
non other way but by penance, and shrifte, and sa- 
tisfaction ; and namely by tho two, if ther be a con- 
fcssour to whom he may shrive him^ and that he 


first be veray contrite and repentant, and the 
thridde if he have lif to performe it. 

Than shal a man loke and consider, that if he 
wol make a trewe and a profitable confession, ther 
must be foure conditions. First it must be in so- 
rowful bitternesse of herte, as sayth the King Eze- 
chiel to God ; I wol remember all the yeres of my 
Hf in the bitternesse of my herte. This condition 
of bitternesse hath five signes; The first is, that 
confession must be shamefast, not for to coveren ne 
hide his sinne, but for he hath agilted his God and 
defouled his soule. And hereof sayth Seint Au- 
gustin : the herte travail eth for shame of his sinne, 
and for he hath gret shamfastnesse he is digne to 
have gret mercie of God. Swiche was the confes- 
sion of the Publican, that wold not heve up his 
eyen to heven for he had offended God of heven : 
for which shamefastnesse he had anon the mercy of 
God. And therfore saith Seint Augustine: That 
swiche shamefast folk ben next foryevenesse and 
mercy. Another signe, is humilitee in confession : 
of whiche sayth Seint Peter; Humbleth you under 
the might of God : the bond of God is mighty in 
confession, for therby God foryeveth thee thy sinnes, 
for he alone hath the power. And this humilitee 
shal be in herte^ and in signe outwarde : for right as 


he hath humilitee to God in his herte, right so 
shuld he humble his body outward to the preest, 
tliat sitteth in Goddes place. For which in no 
maner, sith that Crist is soveraine^ and the preest 
mene and mediatour betwix Crist and the sinner, 
and the sinner is last by way of reson, than shuld 
not the sinner sitte as high as his confessour, but 
knele before him or at his feet, but if maladie dis- 
trouble it: for he shal not take kepe who sitteth 
ther» but in whos place he sitteth. A man that hath 
trespassed to a Lord, and cometh for to axe mercie 
and maken his accorde, and setteth him doun anon 
by the Lord, men wolde holde him outrageous, and 
not worthy so sone for to haye remission ne mercy* 
The thridde signe is, that the shrift shuld be ful of 
teres, if men mowen wepe, and if they mowe not 
wepe with hir bodily eyen, than let hem wepe in hir 
herte. Swiche was the confession of Seint Peter; 
for after that he had forsake Jesu Crist, he went 
out and wept ful bitterly. The fourth signe is, that 
he ne lete not for shame to shrire him and shewe 
his confession. Swiche was the confession of Mag- 
deleine, that ne spared, for no shame of hem that 
weren at the feste, to go to our Lord Jesu Crist and 
beknowe to him hire sinnes. The fifthe signe is, 
that a man or a woman be obeisant to receive the 


pe^iance that hem is enjoined: For cartes Jesu 
Crist for the gilt of man was obedient to the 

The second condition of veray confession is, that 
it be hastily don i for certes, if a mah hadde a dedly 
wound, ever the lenger that he taried to warishe 
himself, the more wold it corrupt and haste him to 
his deth, and also the wound wold be the werse for 
to hele. And right so fareth sinne, that longe time 
is in a man unshew^d. Certes a man ought hastily 
to shewe his sinnes for many causes ; as for drede 
of deth, that cpmeth oft sodenly, and is in no cer- 
tain what; time it shal be, ne in what place ; and eke 
the drenching of o sinne draweth in another : and 
also the lenger that he tarieth, the il^ther is he fro 
Crist. And if he abide to his last day, scarcely 
may he shrive him or remembre him of his sinnes, 
or repent him for the grevous maladie of his deth. 
Ai;ul f er as.mocbe as he ne hath in his lif herkened 
Jesu Crist, whan he hath spoken unto him> he shal 
crie unto our Lord at his last day, and scarcely wol 
he herken him. And understonde that this condi- 
tion muste have foure thinges. First that the shrift 
be purveyed afore, and avised, for wicked hast doth 
not profite ; and that a man con shrive him of his 
sinnes, be it of pride, or envie, and so forth, with 

120 tllE PERSON £S TAL£. 

the spices and circumstances ; and that he have 
comprehended in his minde the nombre and the 
gretnesse of his sinnes, and how longe he hath lien 
in sinne : and eke that he be contrite for his sinnes, 
• and be in stedfast purpose (by the grace of God) 
never efte to fall into sinne ,• and also that he drede 
and countrewaite himself, that he flee the occasions 
of sinne, to whiche he is inclined. Also thou shalt 
shrive thee of all thy sinnes to o man, and not par- 
celmele to o man, and parcelmele to another ; that 
is to understonde, in entent to depart thy confession 
for shame or drede, for it is but strangling of thy 
soule. For certes, Jesu Crist is entirely all good, 
in him is non imperfection, and therfore either he 
foryeveth all i^iftrfitly, or elles never a dele. I say 
not that if thou be assigned to thy penitencer for 
certain sinne, that thou art bounde to shewe him all 
the remenant of thy sinnes, of whiche thou hast ben 
shriven of thy curat, but if it like thee of thyn hu- 
militee ; this is no departing of shrift. Ne I say not, 
ther as I speke of division of confession, that if thou 
have licence to shrive thee to a discrete and an bo- 
nest preest, and wher thee liketh, and by the licence 
of thy curat, that thou ne mayest wel shrive thee to 
him of all thy sinnes : but lete no blot be behind : 
lete no sinne be untolde as fer as thou hast remem* 


brance. And whan thou shalt be shriven of thy 
curat, tell him eke all the sinnes that thou hast don 
sith thou were laste shriven. This is no wicked en- 
tente of division of shrift. 

Also the veray shrift axeth certain conditions. 
First that thou shrive thee by thy free will, not con- 
streined, ne for shame of folk, ne for maladie, or 
swiche other thinges : for it is reson, that he that 
trespasseth by his free will, that by his free will he 
confesse his trespas ; and that non other man telle 
his sinne but himself: ne he shal not nay, ne deny 
his sinne, ne wrath him ayenst the preest for amo- 
nesting him to lete his sinne. The second condition 
is, that thy shrift be lawful, that is to say, that thou 
that shrivest thee, and eke the preest that hereth 
thy confession, be veraily in the feith of holy chirche, 
and that a man ne be not dispeired of the mercie of 
Jesu Crist, as Cain and Judas were. And eke a 
man muste accuse himself of his owen trespas and 
not another : but he shal blame and wite himselfe of 
his owen malice and of his sinne, and non other : 
but natheles, if that another man be encheson or en- 
ticer of his sinne, or the estate of the person be 
swiche by which his sinne is agregged, or elles that 
he may not plainly shrive him but he tell the per- 
son with whiche he hath sinned, than may he tell. 


SO that his entent ne be not to backbite the person, 
but only to declare his confession. 

Thou ne shalt not also make no lesinges in thy 
confession for humihtee, peraventure, to say that 
thou hast committed and don swiche sinnes, of 
which that thou ne were never gilty* For Seint 
Augustine sayth ; if that tliou, because of thin hu- 
militee, makest a lesing on thyself, though thoa 
were not in sinne before, yet arte thou than in sinne 
thurgh thy lesing. Thou must also shew thy sinne 
by thy propre mouth, but thou be dombe, and not 
by no letter: for thou that hast don the sinne, thou 
shalt have the shame of the confession. Thou shalt 
not eke peint thy confession, with faire and subtil 
wordes; to cover the more thy sinne : for than be- 
gilest thou thyself, and not the preest : thou must 
tell it plainly, be it never so foule ne so horrible. 
Thou shalt eke shrive thee to a preest that is dis- 
crete to conseille thee: and eke thou shalt not 
shrive thee for vaine glorie, ne for ypocrise, ne for 
no cause, but only for the doute of Jesu Crist, and 
the hele of thy soule. Thou shalt not eke renne to 
the preest al sodenly, to tell him lightly thy sinne, 
as who telle th a jape or a tale, but avisedly and with 
good devotion ; and generally shrive thee ctfte : if 
thou ofte fteill, ofte arise by confession. And though 


thou shrire thee ofiser than ones of sinne which thou 
hast be shriven of, it is more merite : and, as saytli 
Seint Augustine, thou shalt have the more lightly 
relese and grace of God, both of sinne and of peine. 
And certes ones a yere at the lest way it is lawful to 
be houseled, for sothely ones a yere all thinges in 
the erthe renovelen. 

ExplicU secunda pars Penitentus : et sequitur tertia 


Now have I told you bf veray confession, that is 
the seconde part of penitence : The thridde part is 
satisfaction, and that stont most generally in al- 
messe dede and in bbdily peine. Now ben ther 
three maner of almesse : contrition of herte, wher a 
man offreth himself to God : another is, to have 
pitee of the defaute of his neighbour: and the 
thridde is, in yeving of good Conseil, gostly and 
bodily, wher as men have liede, and namely in sus- 
tenance of mannes food. And take kepe that a 
man hath nede of thise thinges generally, he hath 
nede of food, of clothing, and of herberow, he hath 
nede of charitable conseilling and visiting in prison 
and in maladie, and sepulture of his ded body. 
And if thou maiest not visite' the nedeful in prison 
in thy person, visite hem with thy message and thy 


yeftes. Thise ben generally the almesses and werkes 
of charitee, of hem that have temporel richesses, or 
diflcretion in conseilling. Of thise werkes shalt 
thou heren at the day of dome. 

This almesse shuldest thou do of thy propre 
thinges, and hastily, and prively if thou mayest: 
but natheles, if thou mayest not do it prively, thou 
shalt not forbere to do almesse, though men see it, 
so that it be not don for thanke of the world, but 
only to have thanke of Jesu Crist. For, as wit- 
nesseth Seint Mathewe, Cap. v. a citee may not be 
hid that is sette on a mountaine, ne men light not a 
lanterne, to put it under a bushell, but setten it 
upon a candlesticke, to lighten the men in the hous : 
right so shal your light lighten before men, that 
they mowe see your good werkes, and glorifie your 
Fader that is in heven. 

Now as for to speke of bodily peine, it stont in 
praiers, in waking, in fasting, and in vertuous tech- 
ing. Of orisons ye shul understond, that orisons 
or prayers, is to say, a pitous will of herte, that 
setteth it in God, and expresseth it by word out- 
ward, to remeve harmes, and to have thinges spirit- 
uel and perdurable, and somtime temporel thinges. 
Of which orisons, certes in the orison of the Pater- 
noster hath Jesu Crist enclosed most thinges. Certes 


it is privileged of three thinges in his dignitee, for 

whiche it is more digne than any other prayer : for 

that Jesu Crist himself made it : and it is short, for 

it shuld be coude the more lightly, and to hold it 

the more esie in herte, and helpe himself the ofter 

with this orisOn, and for a man shuld be the lesse 

wery to say it, and for a man may not excuse him 

to lerne it, it is so shorte and so esie : and for it 

comprehendeth in himself all good prayers. The 

exposition of this holy prayer, that is so excellent 

and so digne, I betake to the maisters of theologie, 

save thus moche wol I say, that whan thou prayest, 

that God shuld foryeve thee thy giltes as thou for- 

yevest hem that have agilted thee, be wel ware that 

thou be not out of charitee. This holy orison am- 

enuseth eke venial sinne, and therfore it apperteineth 

specially to penitence. 

This prayer must be trewely sayd, and in perfect 
feith, and that men prayen to God ordinately, dis- 
cretely, and devoutly : and alway a man shal put 
his will to be subgette to the will of God. This 
orison must eke be sayd with gret humblesse and 
ful pure, and honestly, and not to the annoyance 
of any man or woman. It must eke be continued 
with werkes of charitee. It availeth eke ayenst the 
vices of the soule : for, as sayth Seint Jerome, by 


fasting ben saved the vices of the flesh, and by 
prayer the vices of the sQule. 

After this thou shalt understonde, that bodily 
peine stont in waking. For Jesu Crist sayth : wake 
ye and pray ye, that ye ne enter into wicked tempta- 
tion. Ye shul understond also, that fasting stont 
in three thinges : in forbering of bodily mete and 
drinke, in forbering of worldly jolitee, and in for- 
bering of dedly sinne : this is to say, that a man 
shall kepe him fro dedly sinne with all his might. 

And thou shalt understonde also, that God or- 
deined fasting, and to fasting apperteineth foure 
thinges. Largenesse to poure folk : gladnesse of 
herte spirituel: not to be angry ne annoied, ne 
grutch for he fasteth : and also resonable houre for 
to ete by mesure, that is to 'say, a man shal not ate 
in untime, ne sit the longer at the table for he 

Than shalt thou understonde, that bodily peine 
stont in discipline^ or teching, by word, or by writ- 
ing, or by ensample. Also in wering of here or of 
stomin, or of habergeons on hir naked flesh for 
Cristes sake ; but ware thee wel that swiche maner 
penances ne make not thin herte bitter or an^ry, ne 
annoied of thyself; for better is to cast away thia 
here than to cast away the swetenesse of our Lord 


Jesu Crist. And therfore sayth Seint Poule : clothe 
you, as they that ben chosen of God in herte, of 
misericorde, debonairtee, suffirance, and swlche ma- 
ner of clothing, of whiche Jesu Crist is more plesed 
than with the heres or habergeons. 

Than is discipline eke, in l^nocking of thy brest, 
in scourging with yerdes, m kneling, in tribulation, 
in suffiring patiently wronges that ben don to thee, 
and eke in patient su£Pring of maladies, or lesing of 
worldly catel^ or wif, or child, or other frendes. 

Than shalt thou understond, which thinges dis- 
tourben penance, and this is in foure maners ; that 
is drede, shame, hope, and wanhope, that is, des^ 
peration. And for to speke first of drede, for which 
he weneth that he may su£Pre no penance, thei: 
ayenst is remedie for to thinke^ that bodily penanc& 
is but short and litel at regard of the peine of helle 
that is so cruel and so longe, that it lasteth with- 
outen ende. 

Now ayenst the shame that a man hath to shrive 
him, and namely thise Ipocrites, that wold he holden 
soparfit, that they have no nedeto shrive hem, ayenst 
that shame shuld a man thinke, that by way of reson, 
he that hath not ben ashamed to do foule thinges, 
certes him ought not be ashamed to do faire thinges, 
and that is confessions. A man shuld also thinke, 


that God seeth and knoweth al his thoughtes, and 
al his werkes, and to him may nothing be hid ne 
covered. Men shuld eke remembre hem of the 
'shame that is to come at the day of dome, to hem 
that ben not penitent in this present lif : for all the 
creatures in heven, and in erthe, and in belle, shul 
see apertly all that they hiden in this world. 

Now for to speke of the hope of hem, that ben so 
negligent and slowe to shrive hem : that stondeth 
in two maners. That on is, that he hopeth for to 
live long, and for to purchase moche richesse for 
his delit, and than he wol shrive him : and, as he 
sayeth, he may, as him semeth, than timely ynough 
come to shrift : another is, the surquedrie that he 
hath in Cristes mercie. Ayenst the first vice, he 
shal thinke that our lif is in no sikernesse, and eke 
that all the richesse in this world ben in aventure, 
and passen as a shadowe on a wall ; and, as sayth 
Seint Gregorie, that it apperteineth to the gret 
rightwisnesse of God, that never shal the peine 
stinte of hem, that never wold withdrawe hem from 
sinne, hir thankes, but ever continue in sinne : for 
thilke perpetuel will to don sinne shall they have 
perpetuel peine. 

Wanhope is in two maners. The first wanhope 
is, in the mercie of God; that other is, that they 


ne might not longpersever in goodnesse; The first 
wanhope cometh of that, he demeth that he hath 
sinned so gretly and so oft, and sc long lyen in 
sinne, that he shal not be saved. Certes ayenst 
that cursed wanhope shulde he thinke, that the 
passion of Jesu Crist is more stronge for to unbinde; 
than sinne is strong for to binde. Ayenst the 
second wanhope he shal thinke, that as often as he 
falleth, he may arisen again by penitence: and 
though he never so longe hath lyen in sinne, the 
mercie of Crist is alway redy to receive him to 
mercie. Ayenst that wanhope that he demeth he 
shuld not longe persever in goodnesse, he shal 
think, that the feblenesse of the devil may nothing 
do, but if men wol sufire him : and eke he shal have 
strength of the helpe of Jesu Crist, and of all his 
chirche, and of the protection of angels, if him list. 
Than shul men understonde, what is the fruit of 
penance ; and after the wordes of Jesu Crist, it is 
an endeles blisse of heven, ther joye hath no con- 
trariositee of wo ne grevance ; ther all harmes ben 
passed of this present lif ; ther as is sikernesse from 
the peines of helle ; ther as is the blisful compagnie, 
that rejoycen hem ever mo everich of others joye ; 
ther as the body of man, that whilom was foule and 
derke, is more clere than the sonne ; ther as the 



body that whilom was sike and freele, feble and 
mortal, is immortal, and so strong and so hole, that 
ther ne may nothing appeire it ; ther as is neither 
hnnger, ne thurste, ne colde, but every soule reple- 
nished with the sight of the parfit knowing of God. 
This blisful regne mowe men purchase by poverte 
spirituel, and the glorie by lowlinesse, the plentee 
of joye by hunger and thurst^ and the reste by tra- 
vaile, and the lif by deth and mortification of sinne : 
to which life he us bring, that bought us with his 
precious blood. Amen. 

Now preye I to hem alle thatherken this litel tre- 
tise or reden it, that if ther be any thing in it that 
liketh hem, that therof they thanken our Lord Jesu 
Crist, of whom procedeth all witte and all gode* 
nesse ; and if ther be any th^ig that displeseth hem, 
I preye hem also that they arrette it to the de^ettite 
of myn unkonning, and not to my wille, that wold 
fayn have seyde better if I hadde had konning; for 
oure boke seyth, all that is writen is writen for oure 
doctrine, and that is myn entente. Wherfore I be- 
seke you mekely for the mercie of God that ye 
p>eye for me, that Crist have mercie of me and for- 
yeve me my giltes, [and namely of myn translations 
and enditinges of worldly vanitees^ the which I re- 


yoke in my Retractions^ as the boke of Troilus, the 
boke also of Fame, the boke of the five and twenty 
Ladies, the boke of the Duchesse, the boke of Seint 
Valentines day of the Parlement of briddes, the 
tales of Canterbury, thilke tliat sounen unto sinne, 
the boke of the Leon, and many an other boke, if 
they were in my remembraunce, and many a song 
and many a lecherous lay, Crist of his gret mercie 
foryeve me the sinne. But of the translation of Boes 
of consolation, and other bokes of legendes of Seints, 
and of Omelies, and moralite, and devotion, that 
thanke I oure Lord Jesu Crist, and his blisful mo- 
ther, and alle the Seintes in heven, beseking hem 
that they fro hensforth unto my lyves ende sende 
me grace to bewaile my giltes, and to stodieti to the 
salvation of my soule,] and graunte me grace of 
verray penance, confession and satisfaction to don 
in this present lif, thorgh the benigne grace of him, 
that is king of kinges and preste of alle prestes, that 
bought us with the precious blode of his herte, so 
that I mote ben on of hem atte the laste day of 
dome that shullen be saved ; qui cum Deo patre et 
Spiritu sancto vivis et regnas Deus per omnia secula. 









^OR a Grammatical and Metrical Analysis of the 
t eighteen lines, see the Essay &c. p. 91 — 94 
^er. 8. Hath in the Ram] Rather, the Bolle. 
the reasons in the Introductory Discourse, 

^er. 13. And Palmeres] The different sorts of 
yrims are thus distinguished by Dante, Vita nuo- 
p. 80. Chiamansi Palmieri, inquanto vanno oltra 
'€y laonde molte volte recano lapalma ; — Peregrini, 
lanto vanno alia casa di Galiziaj — Romei, in- 
nto vanno a Roma. But he speaks as an Italian, 
lucer seems to consider all Pilgrims to foreign 
ts as Palmers. 

Ter, 20. the Tabard] See Mr. Speght's note, as 
id in the Discourse &c. n. 6. 
lex, 29. Wei— esed] Bien ais4s. The later Frendi 
ge of aite Sing, and aues Plur. unaccented, seems 
)e a corruption. 

i^er. 33. And made forward] More properly, /or- 
'd. See below, ver. 831, 50, 54. from the Sax. 
*c- word, promise. Made (contracted from makedj 
I Dissyllable. See ver. 4361. 


Ver. 43. A Knight] The course of adventures of 
our Knight may be illustrated by those of a real 
Knight of Chaucer's age, who (for any thing that 
appears to the contrary) might have been upon this 
veYy pilgrimage. His Epitaph is in LelantTs Itin. v. 
iii. p. cxi. Icy gist le noble et vaillant Chivaler Ma- 
theu de Gourney &c. — qui ensaviefuala batailk 
de Benamaryn, et ala apres a la siege d'Algezire sur. 
lei Sarazines et aussi a les batailles de'L'Escluse, de 
Cressy, de Deyngenesse, de Peyteres, de Nazare, 
d'Ozrey et a plusours autres batailles et asseges en les 
quex il gaigna noblement graunt los et honour, — ^He 
died in 1406, at the age of 96. Why Chaucer should 
have chosen to bring his Knight from Alexandria 
and Lettowe rather than from Cressy and Poitiers, is 
a problem difficult to resolve, except by supposing, 
that the slightest services against Infidels were in 
those days more honourable than the most splendid 
victories over Christians. 

Ver. 48. ferre] i. e. ferer, the Comparative of/cr, 
far. So Chaucer uses derre, for derer, the Compar. 
of dere, dear, ver. 1450. ^* Ther n'as no man that 
Theseus hath derre J' Ferrer is used at length by 
Peter of Langtoft ; and Ferrest, the Superl. below, 
ver. 496. 

Ver. 51. At Alisandre] Alexandria in Egypt was 
won (and immediately after abandoned) in 1365, by 
Pierre de Lusignan, King of Cyprus. The same 


Prince, soon after his accession to the throne in 
1352, had taken SataHe^ the antient Attalia ; and in 
another expedition about 1367 he made himself mas-^ 
ter of the town of Layas in Armenia. Compare 1 1 
Memoire sur les ouvrfiges de Guillaume de Machaut. 
Acad, des Ins. t. xx. p. 426, 432. and Memoire sur 
la vie de Philippe de Maizih'es, t. xvii. p. 493. See 
also Froissart, v. iii. p. 21. Walsingham mentions 
the taking of Alexandria [p. 180.], and adds ; In- 
terfuerunt autem huic captioni cum rege Cyprise 
plures Anglid et Aquitafiici, referentes tam in Ang- 
liam quam in Aquitaniam pannos aureos et holose- 
ricos, splendoresque gemmarum exoticos, in testi- 
monium tantee victoriee. 

Ver. 52. he had the bord begonne — in Pruse] He 
had been placed at the head of the table ; the usual 
compliment to extraordinary merit; as the Commen- 
tators very properly explain it. When our military 
men wanted employment, it was usual for them to 
go and serve in Prwse, or Prussia, with the Knights 
of the Teutonic order, who were in a state of con- 
stant warfare with their heathen neighbours in Let- 
taw (Lithuania) Ruse (Russia), and elsewhere. A 
pagan King of Lettow is mentioned by Walsingham, 
p. J 80, 343. 

Ver. 53, reysed] This is properly a German word. 
Kilian. in v. Reysen, iter facere — et Ger. Militare, 
facere stipendium. The Editions (except M.) and 


several Mss. have changed it into ridden ^ which in- 
deed seems to have been used by Chaucer in the 
same sense, ver. 48. 

Ver. 56. In Gemade] The city of Algezir was ta- 
ken from the Moorish King of Chranada in 1S44. 
Mariana [L. xvi. c. xi.] among other persons of dis- 
tinction who came to assist at the siege in 1843, 
names particularly, ** de IngUUerra, con licentia dd 
Rey EduardOf los Condes de Arbid, y de Soluzber;'* 
which I suppose we may safely interpret to mean 
the Earls of Derby and SaUshury, Knighton says, 
that the Earl of Derby was there. X Script. 9583. 

Ver. 57. in Belmarie] I cannot find any country 
of this name in any authentic Greographical writer. 
Froissart [V. iv. c. xxiii.] reckons it among the king- 
doms of Africa ; ThuneSy Bougie^ Maroch, Bellema- 
rine, Tremessen: and Chaucer [ver. 1772.] speaks of 
it as producing Lions. The battle of Benamarinf 
mentioned in Sir M. Goumey*s epitaph, is said by a 
late author of Vtage de Espanna^ p. 73. n. 1. to have 
been so called por haber quedado fitncido en ella Al- 
bohacen, Rey de Marruccos, del linage de Aben Ma- 
rin. Perhaps therefore the dominions of that family 
in Africa might be called abusively Benamarinf and 
by a further corruption Belmarie. 

Ver. 59. the Crete See] This is generally under- 
stood to mean the Ponttis Euxinus ^ but I doubt 
whether the name of Mare maggiore was given to 


that Sea by any other nation beside the Italians. 
Sir John Mandevile, p. 89. calls that part of the 
Mediterranean which washes the coast of Palestine, 
the grete See; an appellation, which it might possi- 
bly have acquired there, to distinguish it from the 
two inland Seas (as they were improperly styled) 
the Sea of Tiberias and the Dead Sea. 

In Ms. T. it is the Grekish See; a reading, to 
which I should have had no objection, if I had found 
it confirmed by any better Ms. In the middle ages, 
the Mediterranean Sea, from Sicily to Cyprus, was 
sometimes called Mare Gracum, Hoveden, p. 709. 
So Bracton speaks of Essoigns, de ultra et de citra 
Mare Gnecorum. L. v. Tr. 2. c. 3. The See of 
Greceis used in the same sense by Chaucer himself, 
ver. 4884. — And in Isumbras, fol. 130. b. Tyl he 
come to the Grekes See. 

Ver. 60. A noble armee] I have printed this as 
the most intelligible reading, though I am not quite 
satisfied with it. The Mss. have arme, aryve, and 

Ver. 66. the lord of Palatie] Palathia in Anatolia. 
Sp. The nature of his Lordship may be explained 
from Froissart, v^ iii. c. 22. He gives an account 
there of several Hants Barons in those parts, who 
kept possession of their lands, paying a tribute to 
the Turk. He names particularly le Sire de Satha- 
lie, le Sire de la Palice, et le Sire de Haute-Loge. 

Ver. 84. deliver] Nimhle. So below, ver. 15422. 


Deliverly; Nimbly. The word is plainly formed 
from the Fr. libre. The Italians use sueUo, or 
sciolto in the same sense. 

Ver. 85. in chevachie] ChevaucMe, Fa. It most 
properly means an expedition with a small party of 
Cavalry ; but is often used generally for any mili- 
tary expedition. HoUinshed calls it a rode. 

Ver. 89. Embrouded] Embroidered^ from the Fb. 
Brodery originally Border, 

Ver. 91. floyting] Flaying on the Flute. So in 
H. F. iii. 133. 

'^ And many dijloite and litlying home. 

And pipes made of grene corne/' 
The first syllable for a time retained the broad sound 
of its original. See Du Cange. Flauta, Kilian. 
Fluyte, In some copies it is changed to /lowting, 

Ver. 97. nightertale.] Night-time ; from the Sax. 
nihtern deel ; noctuma portio. Lydgate uses night- 
ertyme. Traged. fol. 141. b. 156. b. 

Ver. 100. And carf before his father] The prac- 
tice of Squiers (of the highest quality) carving at 
their fathers tables has been fully illustrated by M. 
de S^ Palaye, Acad, des Insc. t. xx. p. 604. 

Ver. 101. A Yeman hadde he] The late Editions 
call this character the Squier*s Yeman, but impro- 
perly. The pronoun he relates to the Knight. 
Chaucer would never have given the Son an attenr 
dant, when the Father had none. 

Yeman, or Yeoman, is an abbreviation of Yeonge- 


man^ as Youthe is of Yemigthc, Young men being 
most usually employed in service, servants have, in 
many languages, been denominated from the single 
circumstance of age; as waiu puer, garfon^ boy, 
grome. As a title of service or office, Voman is used 
in the Stat. 37 E. III. c. 9 and 11. to denote a ser- 
vant of the next degree above a garson, or groom ; 
and at this day, in several departments of the Royal 
Household, the attendants are distributed into three 
classes of Serjeants or Squiers, Yecmien, and Grooms. 
In the Household of the Mayor of London, some 
officers of the rank of Yeonian are still, I believe, 
called Young men. See Chamberlain's State of Gr. 

In the Statute 20 R. II. c. 2. Y&tnen and Vadletz 
are synonymous terms. The Chanones Yeman, who 
is introduced below, ver. 16030. is a common ser- 
vant. See also ver. 2730. The title of Yeoman 
was given, in a secondary sense, to people of mid- 
dling rank, hot in service. So the Miller, ver. 3947^ 
is careful " To saven his estat of yemanrie.'* The 
appropriation of the word to signify a small land-- 
holder is more modem, I apprehend. 

Ver. 104. peacok arwes] Arrows with peacock fea- 
thers,. See Mr. Warton's illustration of this pas- 
sage. Hist, of Eng. Poetry, vol. i. p. 450. 

There is a Patent in Rymer, 15 R. II. de arte sa- 
gittandi per Valettos Regis exercendd. ^ The Yeomen, 


and all other Servants of the Royal household, of 
whatever state or office, under the degree of Yeomen, 
are ordered to carry Bows and arrows with them, 
whenever they ride, &c. in the King's train. 

Ver. 109. A not-hed] A head Ukeaftut; from the 
hair, probably, being cut short. It has smce been 
called a Round-head, for the same reason. 

Ver. 115. A Cristofre] I do not see the meaning 
of this ornament. By the Stat 37 £. III. Yomen 
are forbidden to wear any ornaments of gold or 

Ver. 120. St. Eloy] In Latin, Satictus EUgiiu. I 
have no authority but that of £d. Urr, for printiiig 
this Saint's name at length. In all the Mss. which 
I have seen, it is abbreviated, St. Loy, both in this 
place and in ver. 7146. The metre will be safe, if 
othe be pronounced as a dissyllable. 

Ver. 124. And French she spake] It has been 
mentioned before [Essay, &c. n. 55.], that Chaucer 
thought but meanly of the English-French spoken 
in his time. It was proper however that the Prio- 
resse should speak some sort of French ; not only as 
woman of fashion (a character which she is refure- 
sented to affect, ver. 139, 140.), but as a religious 
person. The instructions firom the Abbot of St. 
Albans to the Nuns of Sopewell, 1338, were in the 
French language. See Auct, Add. M. Paria^p, II7I. 

Ver. 127. At mete] The following circumstances 


of behaviour at table are copied from Ram. de la R, 

Et bien se garde qu'elle ne moeille 

Ses doys au brouet jusqu' hs jointes &c. 

Si sagement port sa boueh6e, 

Que sur son pied goutte n'en ch6e 

De souppe, ne de saulse noire. — 

Et doit si bien sa bouche terdre 

Tant qu'el n'y laisse gresse aherdre 

Au moins en la levre desseure.— « 
Ver. 159. gauded all with grene] Having the 
Gawdies green. Some were of silver gilt. Monast 
V. iii. p. 174w Tria paria precularium del Corall 
cum le gaudeys argenti deaurata. So in Gower^ 
Can/. Am. f. 190. 

A paire of bedes blacke as sable 

She toke and hynge my necke about. 

Upon the gaudees all without 

Was wryte of gold, pur reposer, 
Ver. 163. Another Nonne &c.] See Disc. p. 108. 
Ver. 165. a fayre for the maistre] We should say, 
a fair one ; but in Chaucer's time such tautology 
was not, I suppose, elegant. So below, ver. 189. 

Therfore he was a prickasour, a right, ' 
As to the phrase/or the maistrie, I take it to be de- 
rived from the French /7oi^r lamaistrie, which I find, 
in an old book of Physick, applied to such medicines 
as we usually call Sovereign, excellent above all 


Others. Ms. Bod. 761. Secreta h. Samp de Clow- 
burnely fol. 17. b. Ciroigne bone pur lamaistrie a 
briser et a meurer apostemes &c. Medicine magis- 
trel pur festre &c. Medicine pur la maistrie pur 
festre &c. And in another treatise in the same Ms. 
Medulla Cirurgue Rolandi^ similar phrases are used 
in Latin, fol. 77. Pocio bona pro magisterio ad vul- 
nera sananda &c. fol. 79. Contra lupum &c. me- 
dicamen magistrale. In the same sense the Monk 
is said to be fair, for the maistrie^ above all others. 
The phrase is used by Robert of Gloucester, p. 553. 
An stede he gan prikie wel vor the maistrie. The 
several chemical preparations known by the name 
of Magisterium of Lead, Bismuth &c. I conceive 
to have originally acquired that name from their 
being considered at first as masterly operations, 

Ver. 166. loved venerie] i. e. Hunting. If the 
word in Chaucer's time had born any other sense, he 
would hardly have put it into the mouth of Emilia in 
ver. 2310. The monks of that age are represented 
as fond of Field-sports. See below, ver. 189—19^. 
and P. P. fol. L. a. Knighton says, that an Abbot 
of Leicester, who died in 137 7> in venatifine.leporum 
inter omnes regni dominos famosissimus et nominatissi- 
mu8 habebatur. X. Scriptor. p. 2631. He adds in- 
deed, that the Abbot was used to assert, what per- 
haps may have been partly true, se non delectasse in 
huju^smodifrivolis venationibus, nisi solum pro obsequiis 


dominis regniprastandis, et affahilitate eorum captan- 
ddy et gratia in suis negotiis adipiscendd, 

Ver. 169. his bridel — Gingeling] See this fashion 
of hanging bells on bridles, &c. illustrated by Mr. 
Warton, Hist, of Eng. Poetry, p. 164. See also 
below, ver. 14800, 1. 

Ver. 177, a pulled hen] See below, ver. 6694. 
" Swiche arrogance n'is not worth an hen." 
I do not see much force in the epithet pulled, Ca. 1. 
reads, pullet. 

Ver. 179. whan he is rekkeles] Ms. C. reads, 
CUnsterles ; to which the only objection is, that, if it 
had been the true reading, there would have been no 
occasion to explain or paraphrase it in ver. 181 . The 
text alluded to is attributed by Gratian, Decret. P. ii. 
Cau. xvi. Q. 1. c. viii. to a Pope Eugenius. —»Sicwi 
piscis sine aqud caret vitd, ita sine 7)ionasterio monachus. 
In P. P. according to Ms. Cotton. Vesp. B. xvi. (for 
the passage is omitted in the printed editions) a si- 
milar saying is quoted from Gregory. 

Gregori the grete clerk garte write in bokes 
The rewle of alle religioun riytful and obedient 
Hiyt as fishes in a flod whan hem faileth water 
Deien for drowthe whan thei drie liggen 
Riyt so religious roten and sterven 
That out of covent or cloi^tre coveiten to dwelle. 
As the known senses of rekkeles (viz. careless, neg- 
ligent) by no means suit with this passage, I am in- 



clined to suspect that Chaucer possibly wrote reg- 
helles, i. e. without rule. Regol (from Regula) was 
the Saxon word for a Rule, and particularly for a 
Monastic Rule, Hence Regol-lif; Regularis seu 
Monastica vita : RegoUlage ; Re^larium lex : and 
in the quotation from Onn, Essay, &c. n. 52. an 
reghel'boc signifies the book of Rules, by which the 
Augustinian Canons were governed. 

Ver. 187. As Austin bit] i. e. biddeth. Chaucer 
frequently abbreviates the third person Sing, of the 
Present Tense in this manner. See ver. 976. 983. 
Rit for Rideth. ver. 4069. 156S6. Ftnt for Hndeth. 
ver. 4191. Rist for Riseth. ver. 5038. 5071, 5. Stant 
for Standeth. ver. 7^39. Sit for Sitteth. ver. 7998. 
Smit for Smiteth. 

Ver. 193. his sieves purfiled.] From the Fr. Pour- 
filer, which properly signifies, to work upon the edge. 
Pur, Eng. and Pour, Fr. are generally corruptions 
of the Latin Pro, 

It is not clear what species of fur the Gris was, 
only that it was one of the better sorts. See Du 
Cange in v. Griseum. If it was the same with Voir 
(commonly called Menever, i, e. Menu Fair), as he 
supposes, it was probably next in esteem to Ermin. 
See the Statute 37" E. III. c. 10 dnd 12. One of 
Wolsey's ordinances for the reformation of the Au- 
gustinian Monks in 1519 is directed against the 
foppery here described. In manicis sub nullo modo 


furruris utantur aut pellibus, nisi prout lis permi^sum 
est in Statutis Benedictinis. Monast. v. ii. p. 567. 

Ver. 203. His botes souple] This is part of the 
description of a smart Abbot, by an anonymous 
writer of the XIII Century. Ocreas habebat in cru- 
ribuSy quasi innatce essent, sine plici porrectas. Ms. 
Bod, James, n. 6. p. 121. 

Ver. ^3. farsed] Stuffed, from the Fr. Farcir, 
Ver. 337. Of yeddinges] This word, being not 
understood, has been changed in some copies ii^to 
tidingesy and weddinges. It probably means a kind 
of Songf from the Sax. Geddian, or Giddian, To sing. 
See the Saxon Boethius, cap, i. 1. ult. where the words 
thus smgende cuusth are rendered in the Poetical Ver- 
sion, p. 152. gyddode thus. See more instances in 
Lye's Sax. Diet. The Saxon 3 passes frequently 

into y. 

Ver. 256. in prindpi6] This phrase is commonly 
explained to refer to the Beginning of St. John's 
Gospel. It may also refer to the Beginning of 
Genesis. In an old French Romance, Vhistoire des 
trois Maries, it seem to signify some passage in the 
conclusion of the Mass. Acad, des Ins. t. xiii. 
p. 521. 

Moult aise sui quant audio 

he Prestre dire In principiOf 

Car la Messe si est fiuee. 


It is not very material in which of these senses it is 
understood, either here or in ver. 15169. 

Ver. 258. His pourchas was, &c.] From the Rom. 
de la Rose. 12288. 

Mieux vault mon pourchas que ma rente. 
See R. R. 6838. 

Ver. 260. In Love-dayes] A day appointed for 
the amicable settlement of differences was called a 
Love-day. Bracton, 1. v. fol. 369. si ante judicium ca- 
piatur Dies Amoris. — Rot/ Pari, 13 H. IV. n. 13. 
agayn the fourme of a Love-day taken bytwen the 
same parties. The Glossary calls them improperly, 
Meetings for pleasure and diversion. They were meet- 
ings for business ; though it is probable that the bu- 
siness, when finished, was usually followed by a 
treat given to the Arbitrators, &c. See the Pari. 
Roll, quoted above. In P. P. fol. xxvii. Sloth, in 
the character of a Priest, says, 

I can holde Lovedayes, and here a Reves reken- 

And in Cannon or in Decretals I cannot rede a 
Ver. 278. The see were kept] i. e. guarded. The 
old Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage was given to 
the King pur la sauf garde et custodie del mer. 12 £. 
IV. c. 3. 

Ver. 292. his overest courtepy] His uppermost 


short^cloke of coarse cloth. See ver. 6964. and P. 
P. fol. xxxiii. b. 1, ult. 

And kyt her copes and courtepies hem made. 
It is a Teutonic word, from Kort, curtus, and Pije, 
penula coactilis, ex villis crassioribus, Kilian in vv. 

Ver. 300. Yet hadde he] Hadde is here to be pro- 
nounced as a Dissyllable, the h in he being con- 
sidered as a consonant. So below, ver. 3S8. See 
also ver. 9859. 117S4. 11805. 12532. 12834. in all 
which instances (and many others) the e feminine is 
to be pronounced before h, 

Ver. 304. to scolaie] to attend school >, from the old 
French verb, escoloier. It is used in the same sense 
by Lydgate. Traged. fol. 99. So Chaucer uses to 
fVerreie, ver. 10324. 14338. and to Festeye, ver. 
10659. from Guerroier ond Festoier. 

Ver. 307. in forme and reverence] with propriety 
and modesty. In the next line "/wZ of high sen- 
tence'* means only, I apprehend, "/mW of high, or 
excellent J sense/* — Mr. War ton will excuse me for 
suggesting these explanations of this passage in lieu 
of those which he has given in his Hist, of Eng. 
Poetry f vol. i. p. 451. The credit of good letters 
is concerned, that Chaucer should not be supposed 
10 have.made " a pedantic formality,*' and " a precise 
sententious style on all subjects,*' the characteristics 
of a scholar. 

Ver. 322. in suspect] in suspicion. See ver. 8781.' 



Ver. 3S1. a seint of silk with barres smale] It ap- 
pears from our author's translation of R. R. ver. 
1103. that barres were called cUmx in French, and 
were an usual ornament of a girdle. See Mr. War- 
ton's Hist. vol. 1. p. 377* 426. Clavns in Latin, from 
whence the Fr. Cloux is derived, seems to have sig- 
nified not only an outward border, but also what we 
call a stripe. Montfaucon, t. iii. part. i. ch. vi. A 
Bar in Heraldry is a narrow stripe or Fascia. Da 
Cange, in v. Cla vatus, quotes the Statut. Andegm. 
an. 1423. in which the Clergy, and especially the 
Regulars, are forbid to wear zonas auro cUwatas. 

Ver. 333. A Frankelein] Fortescue (de L. L. Ang. 
c. 29] describes a Franklain to be a Pater famiUas^ 
magnis ditatus possessionibus. He is classed with 
(but after) the Miles and Armiger ; and is distin- 
guished from the Liber e tenentes and Valecti ; though, 
as it should seem, the only real distinction between 
him and other Freeholders consisted in the largen^s 
of his estate. Spelman, in v. Franklein, quotes the 
following passage from Trivet's French Chromde. 
[Ms. Bibl. R. S. n. 56.] Thomas de Brotherton (filiiis 
Edwardi I, Mareschallus Anglise) apres la mort son 
pere esposa la Jille de un Francheleyn apelee AUce. 
The Historian did not think it worth his while even 
to mention the name of the Frankelein. 

Ver. 342. Seint Julian] was eminent for provid- 
ing his votaries with good lodgings and accommo- 
dations of all sorts. In the title of his Legende, 


[Ms. Bod. 1596. fol. 4.] he is qalled " St. Julian, 
the gode herbeijour." It ends thus. 
Therfore yet to this day thei that over lond wende, 
Thei biddeth Seint Julian anon that gode herborw 

he hem sende^ 
And Seint Julianes Pater noster ofte seggeth also, 
For his fader soule and his moderes, that he hem 
bring therto. 

Of the virtue of St. Julian's Pater-ruoster see the 
Decameron. P. ii. N. 2. 

Ven 344. envyned] Stored with wine, Gotgrave 
has preserved the French word envin^, in the same 
senfie. This is the reading of Mss. Ask. 1. 2. and 
xxthers. The common editions read vietidid. 

Ver. 359. An anelace] See the Gloss, to M. Paris 
in V. Anelacitis. It was a kind of knifcy or dagger, 
usually worn at the girdle. In that passage of M. 
Paris, p. 349. where Petrus de Rivallis is mentioned 
as gestans anelacium ad lumbare, quod clericum nofi 
decebatf it may be doubted whether the wearing of 
an anelace simply, or the wearing of it at the girdle, 
was an indecent thing in a clerk. The five city- 
mechanics, a few lines below, are described as wear- 
ing knives, and probably at their girdles (see ver. 
370), though the latter circumstance is not clearly 
expressed. In the picture of Chaucer, which is in- 
serted in some copies of Occleves book De regimme 
principis, he is represented with a knife hanging 


from a button upon his breast. See Mas. HarL 4866. 
Cotton, Otho. A. xviii. 

Ver. 359. a gipciere] Fr. Giheciere, a purse. The 
mechanics, ver. 370. have also their pouches. 

Ver. 357. At Sessions] At the Sessions of the 
Peace. The Justices, by the Stat. 34 E. III. c. 1. 
were to be, in each county, un Seigneur et ovesque 
lui trois on quatre des meultz vauez du countee, en- 
semblement ove ascuns sages de la ley, A wealthy 
Frankelein might perhaps be commissioned under 
this description ; but 1 know not how he coud be a 
Knight of the Shire ; as they by 46 E. 111. were to 
be Chivalebs et Serjantz des meulx vauez du 
pais ; unless we suppose, either that the rank of Ser- 
jant (Esquire) was as undefined as it is now, or that 
his office of Justice made him an Esquire^ within 
the meaning of the act. 

Ver. 361. a countour] This word has been changed 
in Ed. Urr. (upon what authority I know not) to 
Coroner, The Mss. all read Countour, or comptour. 
At the same time it is not easy to say what office is 
meant. 1 have a notion, that the Foreman of the 
inquest in the Hundred court was called a Count- 
our ; but the Law-Glossaries do not 'take notice of 
any such sense of the word, and I cannot at present 
produce any thing stronger in support of it than 
the following passage of R. G. p. 538. Speaking of 
an Hundred-court summoned by the Constable of 
Gloucester Castle, he says, that — 


He hald this hundred mid *gret folk and honour^ 
And Adam of Arderne was is [his] chef countour. 
Though this may possibly mean that Adam acted 
as accomptant or steward of the court. 

Ver. 362. vavasour] The precise import of this 
word is often as obscure as its original. See Du 
Cange in v. In this place it should perhaps be un- 
derstood to mean the whole class of middling Land- 

Ver. 372. on the deis] This word occurs so fre- 
quently in our old authors, that it may be worth the 
while to endeavour to give a more satisfactory ex- 
planation of it than is to be found in the Glossaries. 
I apprehend that it originally signified the wooden 
floor [D'ais, Fr. De assibus, Lat.] which was laid at 
the upper end of the hall, as we still see it in Col- 
lege-halls, &c. That part of the room therefore, 
which was floored with planks, was called the Dais 
(the rest being either the bare ground or at best 
paved with stone) ; and being raised above the level 
of the other parts it was often the high Dais, In 
royal halls there were more Dais than one, each of 
them probably raised above the other by one or 
more steps ; and that where the King sate was called 
the highest Dais. At a dinner, which Charles V of 
Fiance gave to the Emperour Charles IV in 1377, 
Christine de Pisan says [Hist, de Ch. V. P. iii. c. 33] 
cinq dois [dais"] avoit en la sale plains de Princes 


and de Barons, et autres tables par -tout. — et es- 
toient les deux grans dois et les dre90uers fais de 
barrieres a Tenviron. 

As the principal table was always placed upon a 
Dais, it began very soon, by a natural abuse of 
words, to be called itself a Dais, and people were 
said to sit at the Dais, instead of at the table upon 
the Dais. It was so in the time of M. Paris. Vit 
Abb. p. 1070. Priore prandente ad magnam men- 
sam, quam Deis yocamus. 

Menage, whose authority seems to have led later 
antiquaries to interpret Dais, a Canopy, has evi- 
dently confounded Deis with Ders, Ders and Der- 
selet (from Dorsum, as he observes) meant properly 
the hangings at the back of the company [Du Cangei 
y. DoRSALE.], but as the same hangings were often 
drawn over so as to form a kind of canopy over their 
heads, the whole was called a Ders. Chris tuate, P. 
iii. c. 41. Sus chascun des trois [the Emperour and 
the Kings of France and Bohemia] avoit un ciel, 
distincte Tun de I'autre, de drap d'or k fleurs de lis; 
et pardessus ces trois en avoit un grant, qui couvroit 
tout au long de la table, et tout derriere eux pendoii, 
et estoit de drap d'or. This last del, or canopyi 
" which covered the whole length of the table^ and 
hung down behind the company," was a Ders* That 
it was quite a different thing from a Deis, appears 
from what follows : A V autre dois [dais] auplus prh 




(^he says) scoit — /e Daulphin and others. Et sus le 
ohk/rf du Daulphin avoit un del, et puis un autre par- 


dessus qui toute la table co?ivroit. Dais here plainly 
means a table. The Dauphin sate at the second 
table, and had a canopy over his own head, and an- 
oljier which covered the whole table. In short, one 
of Menage's own citations, if properly corrected, 
will fully establish the distinct senses of these two 
words. Ceremofu de Godefroy, p. 335. Le Roy se 
vint mettre k table sur un haut Ders [read Deis] fait 
et prepare en la grande salle du logis Archiepisco- 
pal, smis un grand Ders, le fond du quel estoit tout 
d'or. He has another citation from Martene, de 
Men, Rit. 1. i. c. xi. p. 109, in which he himself al- 
lows, that Dasium (the same as Dais) must signify 
un estr^ide, a raised floor. It appears from the same 
citation, that the ascent to the Dasium wdiS by more 
stbps than one. 

See below, ver. 2^0^. 9585. 10373. and Gower,^ 
Conf. Am. fol. 155. a. Sittende upon the hie deis, 

Ver. 381. for the nones] " That is, as I conceive,^ 
for the occa,sion. This phrase, which was very fre- 
quently, though not always very precisely, used by 
our old writers, I suppose to have been originally a 
corruption of corrupt Latin. From pre-nunc, I sup- 
pose, came for the nunc, and so for the nonce ; just 
as from ad-nunc came a-non. The Spanish entonces 
has been formed in the same manner from iu'tuncJ*' 


I have repeated this note from Johnson and 
Steevens* Shakespeare, Edit. 1773. Vol. 5. p. 239. 
as I have not found any reason to alter my opinion 
with respect to the original of this phrase. I will add 
here a list of several passages in these tales, in which 
it is used in the same sense. See ver. 525. 547* 
5469. 13948. 15339. See also R. G. p. 285. 

And he hadde vor the nones tweye suerdes by hys 

Ver, 382. And poudre marchant] What kind of 
ingredient this was I cannot tell. Cotgrave men** 
tions a Pouldre blanche and a Pouldre de due, which 
seem both to have been used in Cookery. I must 
take notice, that the epithet tart, in most of the Mss. 
is annexed to poudre marchanty and I rather wish I 
had left it there, as, for any . thing that I know, it 
may suit that as well as Galingale. 

Ver. 383. London ale] Whether this was a dif- 
ferent sort of ale from that of the provinces, or only 
better made, I know not ; but it appears to have 
been in request above a century after Chaucer. In 
the account of the feast of Archbishop Warham in 
1504, are the following articles. Lei. Collect App* 
P. ii. p. 30. . % 

De cervisia Londini iiii. dol. — . — vi li. 
De cervisia Cant. vi. dol. prec. dol. xxv s. 
De cervisia Aug. Bere xx. dol. prec. dol. xxiii s. ivd. 
So that London ale was higher priced than Kentish 
by 5s. a barrel. 


Ver. 386. Maken mortrewes] Lord Bacon, in his 
l«Iat. Hist. i. 48. speaks of ^' a Mortress made with 
the brawn of capons stamped and strained.*' He 
joins it with the cullice (coulis) of cocks. It seems 
ta have been a rich broth, or soupe, in the prepara- 
tion of which the flesh was stamped, or beat, in a 
mortar ; from whence it probably derived its name, 
une mortreuse; though I cannot say that I have ever 
met with the French word. 

Ver. 388. a mormal] A cancer, or gangrene. So 
the Gloss, and I believe Chaucer meant no more, 
by bis confining the disease to the shin. The origi- 
nal ord, Malum mortuum, Lat. Mauxmorz, Fr. 
seems, to have signified a kind of dead palsy, which 
took away entirely the use of the legs and feet. Du 
Cange, in v. Malum mortuum. Jonson, in imita- 
tion of this passage, has described a cook with an— 
" old mortmal on his shin." Sad Shepherd. A. ii. 

Ver. 393. All in a goune of falding] I have added 
All, for the sake of the verse, but perhaps unneces- 
sarily, as some of the Mss. read — 

In a goune of falding unto the knee. 
The reader has been forewarned [Essay &c. p. 87.] 
that Chaucer is not always correct in the dispo- 
Bition of his accents. 

Ver. 400. Of nice conscience] H. Stephens in- 
forms us, that iVice was the old French word for 


Niais, one of the synonymes of Sot, ApoL Herod. 1. 
i. c. 4. Our author uses it elsewhere in its original 
sense {or foolish^ ver. 6520. 

But say that we ben wise and nothing nice, 
Ver. 405. His herberwe, his mone] In ver. 11347* 
he uses herberwe for the place of the Sun^ which per- 
haps it may signify here. Lodemanage seems to be 
formed (as the Gloss, observes) by adding a Freud 
termination to the Sax. LcLdman^ a Quide, or Pilot 
It would have been more English to have said Lad/t- 
manshipf as Seamanship^ HoTsetnanship^ &c. From 
the same property of leadings the North«Btar, in ver. 
2061^ is called the Lodesterre ;. and hence also our 
name of Loadstone for the Magnet. 

Ver. 418. by his magike naturel.] The same prac- 
tises are alluded to in H • F. iii« 175. 

And clerkes eke, which conne well 
All this magyke naturelly 
That craftely do her ententes 
To maken in certayne ascendentes 
Ymages, lo ! through which magyke 
To maken a man ben hole or seke. 
Ver. 443. Old Hippocras] Whoever is curious to 
know more of the Physicians mentioned in this Cats^- 
logue may consult the Account of Authors, &c in 
Ed. Urr.— Fabric. Bibl. Med. -flEt.— and the Eleftch. 
Medicor. Vet. ap. eund. Bibl. Gr. t. xiii. I shall 
only observe that the names oiHippocraSp or Ypocras^ 


id Gallien were used even by the Latin writers of 
le middle ages for Hippocrates and Galen. See 
le inscriptions in the Library at St. Albans, Mo- 
ist, t. i. p. 184. 

Magnus eram medicus, Hypocras sum nomine 

Alter et egregius vocitatus eram Galienus, 
) below, ver 12240, 

Ver. 459. moist and newe] Moist is here used in 
peculiar sense, as derived from mustem ; for ac- 
rding to Nonius, 2. 518. Musttmiy non solum 
Qum, verum etiam novellum quiquid est, recte di- 
ttir. So in ver. 17009. moisty ale is opposed to 

Ver. 464. as nouthe] The use of nouthe for 
Wy in this place, has so much the appearance of a 
•tch, that it may be proper to observe that the 
)rd was in use before Chaucer's time. See R. G. 
455, 8. In the latter instance it is in the middle 
the verse. 

Ver. 470. Gat-tothed] Whether we read thus, 
th the generality of the Mss. or Cat-tothed, with 
ss. Ask. 1. 2. or Gap^tothed, with Ed. Urr. I cen- 
ts myself equally unable to explain what is meant 
this circumstance^of description. The Wife uses 
3 phrase when speaking of herself in ver, 6185. 
Ver. 528. spiced conscience] This phrase occurs 
a,in, ver. 6017. but I do not understand it. 


Ver. 550. the ram] This was the usual prize at 
wrestling-matches. See below, ver. 13671. and 
Gamelyn. ver. 343. 555. M, Paris mentions a wrest- 
ling-match at Westminster in the year 1228, at 
which a ram was the prize, p. 265. 

Ver. 562. a goliardeis] Un goliardoiSy Fa. GoUar- 
dus, or GoUardensiSy Lat. This jovial sect seems 
to have been so called from Golias, the red or as- 
sumed name of a man of wit, toward the end of the 
XII th Century, who wrote the ApocaUjpsis GoUk, 
and other pieces in burlesque Latin Rimes, some of 
which have been falsely attributed to Walter Map. 
See Tanner's Bibl. Brit, in v. Golias, and Du Cange 
in V. GCFLiATLDVS. There is a poem by one of this 
sect in Ms. Bod. 3669. James. 32. which is entitled 
" Dicta cujusdam Goliardi Anglici," and begins 
thus : 

Omnibus in Gallisl, Anglus Goliardus, 
Obediens et humilis, frater non bastardus, 
Goliee discipulus, dolens quod tarn tardus, 
Mandat salutem fratribus, nomine Richardus. 
The last Stanza is this. 

Summa salus omnium, filius Mariee, 
Pascat, potet, vestiat pueros Golise, 
Et conservet socios sanctee confrariee 
Ad dies usque ultimos Enoch et Elyse. 
In several authors of the XIII th Century, quoted 
by Du Cange, the Goliardi axe classed with theja- 
culatpres et buffones. 


Ver. 565. a thomb of gold] If the allusion be, 
as is most probable, to the old proverb, Every hcyiiest 
Miller has a thumb of gold, this passage may mean, 
that our Miller, notwithstanding his thefts, was an 
honest Miller, i. e. as honest as his brethren. 

Ver. 588. sette hir aller cappe] Aller is the Geni- 
tive Plural of Alle, from the Sax. ealra, Hir aller 
would be properly rendered in Latin eorum omnium. 
See the Essay &c. n. 27. To set a man's cap is the 
same as to make a fool of him. See ver. 3145 

How that a Clerk hath set the wrightes cappe, 

Ver. 617. a right good stot] I take Stot to be 
put here for Stod, the Saxon word for a Stallion, A 
stot signified properly a Bullock, as it still does in 
the North. See the Percy Housh. Book, p. 2. and 
Note. The passage which Du Cange, in v. Stot- 
Tus, has quoted from Maddox, Form. Angl. p. 427. 
to shew, that Stottus signifies Equus admissarius, 
proves rather that it signifies a Bullock, John de 
Nevill leaves to his eldest son several specific lega- 
cies " et eciam cc vaccas pro stauro, cc stottos et 
stirkes, MMbidentes" &c. Stirke is the Saxon name 
for a heifer, so that there can be litlle doubt that 
" cc stottos et stirkes** should be rendered ** cc bul- 
locks and heifers, 

Ver. 626. cherubinnes face] H. Stephens, ApoL 
Herod, 1. i. c. xxx. quotes the same thought from a 
French epigram. 



No8 grands docteurs au Ckerubin vitage &c, 
Ver. 627. sausefleme] I find this word in an old 
Fr. book of Physick, which I have quoted before in 
n. on ver. 165. '' Oignement magistrel pur saute' 
fleme et pur chescune manere de rotgneP — Roigne 
signifies any scorbutic eruption. So in the Thw- 
sand notable tfungSy B. i. 70. ^' A sawsfieame or red 
pimpled face is helped with this medicine foUow- 
ing/' — Two of the ingredients are Quick^Hoer and 
Brimstone. The Original of the word seems to be 
pointed out in the following passage. Vit R* 
ii. a Mon. Evesh. p. 16!). *' facies alba— interdnm 
sanguinis Jieumate viciata." In another place, B. ii. 
SO. Oyle of Tartar is said '^ to take away 
cleane all spots, freckles, and filthy wheaksJ* 
These last, I suppose, are what Chaucer calls 

Ver. 648. Questio quidjurisl This kiiid of Ques- 
tion occurs frequently in Ralph de Hengham. After 
having stated a case, he adds. Quid juris ? and then 
proceeds to give the answer to it. See Heng. Mag. 
c. xi. Esto autem quod reus nullo modo ven^t ad 
hunc diem, quid juris ? &c. See also, c. xii. 

Ver. 649. a gentil harlot] The name of Harht 
was anciently given to men as well as women. See 
below, ver. 7336. Herlod, in Welsh, is said to sig- 
nify simply a young man, and Herlodes, a yoiung w^- 
man. Richards, Welsh Diet, in v. With us it 


•ieems always to have been a disgraceful appella- 
tion. In R. R. ver, 6068. Kin^ of Harlots is Chau- 
cer's translation of Roy des ribaulx. 

Ver. 664. a Significavit] The writ de excommuni- 
cato capiendo, commonly called a Significavit, from 
Lhe beginning of the writ, which is as follows : Rex 
Vicecomiti L, salutem. Significavit 7iohis venerabilis 
oater H, L, Episcopus &c. Cod. Jur. Ecc. p. 1054. 

Ver. 665. In danger hadde he] i. e. within the 
reach, or control, of his office. See Hist. Abbat. 
PipwelL ap. Monast. Angl. t. i. p. 815. Nee aude- 
t>ant Abbates eidem resistere, quia aut pro denariis 
%ut pro bladis semper fuerunt Abbates in dangerio 
:iicti Officialis. 

The yonge girles, in the next line, may signify 
either the young men or the young women ; as girl was 
Formerly an appellation common to both sexes. 

Ver. 672. Of Rouncevall] I can hardly think 
tbat Chaucer meant to bring his Pardoner from Ron- 
cevaux in Navarre, and yet I cannot find any place 
of that name in England. An Hospital Beata Ma- 
ria de Rouncyvalle in Charing, London, is mentioned 
in the Monast. t. ii. p. 443. and there was a Runce- 
^al-Hall in Oxford. Stevens, v. ii. p. 262. So that 
[>erhap8 it was the name of some Fraternity. 

Ver, 674. Come hither, love to me] This, I sup- 
:>ose, was the beginning, or the burthen, of some 
cnown song. 


Love, is here a dissyllable, as in ver. 260. 
In love-days, ther coud he m6chel helpe. 
and in ver. 16^7. 

Ful soth is sdyde, that love n6 lordship. 

The double rime of to me, answering to Roiuej 
proves evidently that Rome in this place is to be 
pronounced as a Dissyllable. We need therefore 
have no scruple, I think, of pronouncing it in the 
same manner wherever the metre requires two sylla- 
bles See ver. 4562. 4576. 5388. 5568. 

A like use may be made of other similar rimes in 
Chaucer for establishing the pronunciation of the t 
feminine. In ver. 16673. by me rimes to fime, and 
in Tro, ii. 991. to time and prim£ ; and .accordingly 
both time and prime are used in other places as dis- 
syllables. See ver. 7884. 10827—10674. 12596. 

In these cases the final monosyllabic me transfers 
its accent to the preceding syllable, after the man- 
ner of the Greek enclitics, and the final e of coarse 
becomes a mere e feminine. 

Ver. 675. bare— a stiff burdoun] Sang the base. 
See ver. 4163. and Du Cange in v. Burdo. 

Ver. 684. the newe get] T?ie new fashion. Gette, 
or jett (for the Mss. differ), is used in the same sense 
by Occleve, de Reg, Princ. Mss. Bod. 1504. 1786. 
Also ther is another 7iewe gette. 
All foule waste of cloth and excessif — 

Ver. 689. Bret-ful of pardon] This is the reading 


of all the Mss. but I have found no other passage in 
which the word Bret is used. Fret (for freighted^ 
fraught) is used by Lydgate, in a Ballade, falsely at- 
tributed to Chaucer. Ed. Urr. p. 552. ver. 269. Ther 
kinde is fret with doublenes. — and in Traged. B. v. 
c. 7. Fret full of stones. B. viii. c. 7. With riche 
stones/re^. — Fret may also be derived from the Sax. 
Frcetwian, Ornare, See the Gloss, in v. Bret-ful. 

Ver, 710. a noble ecclesiast] It appears from 
hence that the Pardoner was an itinerant €ccZe«i<M- 
tick, of much the same stamp with Frate Cipolla in 
the Decameron, vi. iO. By the Stat. 22 H. VIII. 
c. 12. all proctors and pardoners going about in any 
countrey without sufficient authority are to be treated 
as vagabonds. Their impositions upon the credu- 
lity of the vulgar have been checked by several 
Councils. See Du Cange, in v. Quastiarii aud 
Qtuestiqnarius, under which general names the ven- 
ders of indulgences are included. 

Ver. 743. Eke Plato sayth] This saying of Pla- 
to is quoted again ver. 17156. Our author proba- 
bly took it from Boethius, B. iii. Pr. 12. See also 
Rojn» de la R, ver. 7465. 

Ver. 761. amonges] I have ventured to lengthen 
the common reading among by a syllable, as thame- 
tre requires it, and Chaucer uses the word so length- 
ened in other places. See ver. 6534. 

Ovide, amonges other thinges smale — 
and ver. 9902. 


Amonges other of his honest thinges. 
I suspept that the Sax. gemang had originally a ter- 
mination in an, gemangan, like many odier of the 
Saxon adverbs and prepositions. 

Ver. 787. to make it wise] To make it a matter 
of wisdom f or deliberation. So in ver. 3978. 11535. 
he made it strange — signifies — /ie made it a matter of 

Ver. 792. This is the point] See the Discourse, 
&c. § vii. 

Ver. 812. and our othes swore] i. e. and foe swore 
our othes— and praicd him &c. It is too frequent 
a practice with our author to omit the governing 
Pronoun before his verbes. See below, ver. 1767. 
And satve — for And they sawe, Ver. 5042. and 
sayn — for and they sayn, Ver. 5054. and yet lith-^ 
for — and yet he lith. Ver. 6123. and blamed himself 
— for — and he blamed himself Ver. 6398. And 
made him — for — And I mxide him, 

Ver. 819. In high and lowe] In, or De alto et 
basso. Barb. Lat. Haut et bas, Fr. were expres- 
sions of entire submission on one side, and sove- 
reignty on the other. So P, L. p. 283. speaking of 
the Pope, says — He salle at his dome set it Uwe 
and hie. See Du Cange, in v. 

Ver. 827. a litel more than pas] A pas, with 
Chaucer, means always, I believe, a foot-pace. See 
ver. 2899. And riden forth a pas. — and ver. 12800. 


Than thou wolt gon a pas not but a mile. See also 
ver. 16043. — more than trot or pas. 

Ver. 837. Now draweth cutte] Draweth is the 
second person Plural of the Imperative Mode. See 
the Essay &c. n. 32. The ceremony of drawing^ 
cutte occurs again, ver. 1^727, seq. Froissart calls 
it tirer <l la longue paille, V. i. c. 294. 

Ver. 868. the regne of Feminie] The kingdom of 
the Amazons. So Penthesilea is called by Gower 
the Queen of Feminee, Conf. Am. fol. 75. a. 97. b. 
Ver. 886. And of the temple] The Editions, and 
all the Mss. except two, read tempest. But the 
Theseida says nothing of any tempest. On the con- 
trary it says, that the passage 

Tosto fornito fu et senza pene. 
I have therefore preferred the reading of Mss. C. i 
and HA. as Theseus is described making his offer- 
ings, &c. upon his return, in a temple of Pallas 
Thes. 1. ii. 

Ver. 907—13] Imitated from the Theseida. 
Chi son costoro, che a nostri lieti aventi 
Cum crini sparti, baiendose el pecto, 
Di squalor piene in altri obscuti vestimenti, 
Tutte piangendo, come se in despecto 
Havessen la mia gloria e Taltre genti. 
The 3d line, I suspect, should be read thus : 

Di squalor piene in atri vestimenti. 
Obscuri was a gloss for atri. 


Ver. 911. misboden] Injured. So in a Charter of 
Canute to the Church of St. Paul. Monast. v. iii. 
p. 304. that nan man — heom misbeode. 

Ver. 940. wala wa] I shall take the liberty of 
constantly representing this Interjection in this sim- 
ple form, though in the M ss. it is written very dif- 
ferently ; walaway, wellaway, welaway, &c. from 
whence the more modern vulgar weladay, Wa and 
la are both Saxon interjections of grief. The com- 
pound Wala wa is used in Chr. Saxon. Gibs. p. 191. 

Ver. 970. No nere Athenes] Nere is usyed for 
Nerre, and that for Nerer, the Comparative' of Ner. 
So ver. 1852, ferre ne nere ; ver. 13450. nere arid 
nere; ver. 16189. never the nere. 

Ver. 981. y bete] Probably, stamped; that opera- 
tion being anciently, I suppose, performed by the 
hammer. See ver. 11948. 11951. 

Ver. 1016. And he that other] He is inserted for 
th^ sake of the metre. But perhaps we should ra- 
ther read with some of the Mss. And that other 
knight highte Palamon. See the n. on ver. 393. 

Highte is a Dissyllable here as in other places; 
Ver. 618. 862. 1730. 3097, et al. It is difficult tode- 
termine precisely what part of speech it is ; but upon 
the whole, I am inclined to consider it as a word of 
a very singular form, a verb active with a passive 
signification. See ver. 1560. where I highte mvL&t 
signify I am called, as in the verse preceding to 


highte signifies to be called. According to this hy- 
pothesis, in the present instance and in ver. 618. 
862, 1730. -where highte signifies was called, it is put 
for highted ; and in ver. 3097, where it signifies is 
called, for highteth. 

It should be observed, that the Sax, hatan, vo- 
care promittercy from whence highte is derived, is a 
verb active of the common form ; and so is highte 
itself, when it signifies to promise. See ver. 6606. 


Ver. 1053. at the sonne uprist] I should have had 
no objection to the reading of Ed. Urr. as the sonne 
upristy i. e. upriseth, if I had found it in any Ms. 
The common reading is supported by Lydgate, Th. 
fol. 364. a. where uprist is used for uprising, 

Ver. lOSO. he blent] This word has various senses 
in. Chaucer, as it is derived from blinnan, cessare; 
blindan, csecare ; or blendan,' miscere. It seems 
here to be used in a fourth sense, the same in which 
Shakespeare uses the verb to bletich, i. e. to shrink, 
or start aside, Johnson's Diet in v. Blench. In 
ver. 3751. and Tro. iii. l'^52. it signifies looked; see 
Gloss, in V. Bletit part, of Blench. 

Ver. 1 135. to dien in the peine] So in Froissart, 
y. i. c. 206. Edward III declares that he will not 
return *' jusques k tant qu'il auroit fin de guerre, ou 
paix k sa sufHsance, ou k son grand honneur: ou il 
mourroit en la peine** See also R. R. 3326. 

Ver. 1157. par amour I loved hire] i. e. with love 


I loved her. This is a genuine old expression. See 
Froissart, v. i. c. 1 96, II aima adonc par amours, et 
depuis espousa, Madame Ysabelle de Juillers. — and 
Boccace, Decam. x. 7. per amore amiate. So below, 
ver. 2114. That loveth par amour. — From hence Far 
ramour or Paramours (in one word) was used vul- 
garly to signify love; [See ver. 3354. 4390. 13774.} 
and a mistress ; ver. 6036. 

Ver. 1165. the olde Clerkes sawe] The olde Clerk 
is Boethius,from whose book(2e Consolatione Chaucer 
has borrowed largely in many places. The passage 
alluded to is in L. iii. Met. 12. 
Quis legem det amantibus ? 
Major lex amor est sibi. 

Ver. 12L4. o stound] Oue moment. For this read- 
ing we are obliged to Ms. C. i. Vulg. or stound. 

Ver. 1264. A dronken man] This is also from 
Boethius, L. iii. Pr. 2. 

Ver. 1281. The pure fetters] The very Fetters. 
So in the Duch. ver. 583. The pure deth. The Greeks 
used Kodapo^ in the same sense [Tifjuw wzSapo^. A very 
Timon: Aristoph. Opv, 1548.]; and the Latins j[iur»# 
putu^. See Froissart, v. ii. c. 104. pur Anglois de 

Ver. 1346. exiled on his hed] So in Froissart, 
V. i. c. 241. orders were given que nul sur sa teste 
ne s^advangast d'aller devant. In v. ii. c. 41. he uses 
indifferently sur la teste and sur peine de la teste. 

Ver. 1378. Beforne his hed in his celle] This is 


the reading of Ms. £. The Mss. C. i. and HA. read> 
Beforn his owen celle — and perhaps their authority 
ought to have been followed in the text. 

Ver. 1430. Philostrate] In the Theseida Arcite 
takes the name of Peiitheo. See the Discourse, &c. 
p. 136. The name of Philostrate might be suggested 
to Chaucer, either by Boccace's poem entitled Phi- 
lostratOf or by the Decameron, in which one of the 
characters is so called. In the Midsummer Nighfs 
Dream, of which the principal subject is plainly 
taken from this Tale, a Philostrate is also intro- 
duced, as a favourite servant of Theseus and master 
of his sports. 

Ver. 1479. That nedes cost] The sense of this 
passage as it stands in the Mss. is so obscure, that 
I am inclined to adopt the alteration proposed in 
Gl. Urr. v. Nede. That nedes cast he moste him- 
selven hide. i. e. That he must needs cast, or con- 
trive, to hide himself. But I find the same expres- 
sion in L. W. 2686, 

" Or needes coste this thing mote have an end." 

Ver. 1B24. feld hath eyen] An old Monkish 
verse to this effect is quoted in Ms. Bod. James, n, 
6. p. 161. Campus habet lumen, et habet nemns 
auris acumen. 

Ver. 1537. Now shineth it, and now] I have 
printed this line so upon the credit of Edit. M. which 
professes to follow Mss. though perhaps we might 
safely read with Ms. A. Now itte shineth, now — 


Itte may have been a dissyllable formerly as well as 

Ver. 1628. his thankes] With his good will. See 
also ver. 2109. 5854, and ver. 2116. hir thankes; 
with their good will. So in the Saxon Chron. p. 243. 
sume here thankes, and sume here unthankes; aliqui 
libentur et aliqui ingratis. 

Ver. 1644. And breking] The Mss. all read, brek- 
eth. But it is more likely, I think, that the first 
transcriber should have made a mistake in that 
word, than .that Chaucer should have offended so 
unnecessarily against grammar. 

Ver. 1658. In his fighting were as] As has been 
inserted for the sake of the metre, but I am not sa- 
tisfied with it. Perhaps we should read Jightinge, 
and pronounce the final e. In the Saxon, Verbals 
of this form are said to terminate in ange, inge, ongs, 
unge. Hickes, Gr. AS. c. 3. xvii. 

Ver. 1670, 1.] So in the Theseida, 1. v. 
Ma come nui vegian venir in hora 
Cossa che in mille anni non aviene. 

Ver. 1715. As though it were] The best Mss. 
read — As it were in a listes — which perhaps is right 
See before, ver. 1014. on armes, — And Froissart, 
v..i» c. 153. en unes lices, qui pour celle cause furent 

In the preceding line other is the old expression 
for or. 

Ver. 1749. Mars the rede] So below, ver. 197 !• 


Boccace has given Mars the same epithet in the 
opening of his Theseida. 

— o rubicondo Marte. 
Ver. 1817. And therfore] Imitated from the 
Theseida, 1. v. 

Ma pero che gia inamorato fui 
E per amor sovente folegiai, 
M'e caro molto il perdonare altrui. 
Ver. 1861. Sle his contrary] The terms in the 
Theseida are simply- 

Chi Taltra parte caccera di fuore 
Per forza d'arme, marito li fia. ' 
Ver. 1900. Arsmetrike] So Arithmetike was com- 
monly called in our ancient language. See below, 
ver. 7804. and The seven Sages of Rome. Ms. Cotton. 
Galba. £. ix. 

Geometric and art metrike 
Fisik and also Retorike. 
Ver. 1915. Hath Theseus don wrought] This 
should rather be don work. The Participle of the 
Past Time is put improperly for the Infinitive Mode. 
But the same inaccuracy occurs again in ver. 4591. 
These marchants han don fraught hir shippes 
newe — 

Ver. 1920. the temple of Venus] In the descrip- 
tion of this temple Chaucer has taken very little 
from Boccace, as he had already inserted a very 
close imitation of this part of the Theseida in his 


Atsemble of Foules, from ver. 183 to ver.287. If that 
Poem alludes (as I suspect) to the intended mar- 
riage between John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lan- 
caster, which took place in 1359, it will follow that 
the Poem of Palamon and Arcite must have been 
composed after that period. 

Ver. 1 932. And hadde a cukkow] Hadde is in- 
serted upon the authority of Ed. M. I do not re- 
collect to have found it in any Ms. 

Ver. 1942. the porter Idelnesse] In the Ass. of 
F. ver. 261. Richesse is the Porter of Venus. But 
Idelnesse, Dame Oyseuse, is the Porter of the Jardin 
de Deduit, Rom. de la R. 645. 

Ver. 1977. I shall throw together a few lines of 
the Theseida, which Chaucer has plainly copied in 
this description. 

Ne v'era bestia ancora ne pastore — 
Cerri — Nodosi, aspri, rigidi e vetusti — 
E le porte eran de etemo adam'ante 
Ferrato d'ogni parte tutte quante. 
Ver. 1999. The cruel ire] From the Theseida. 
Vide vi le ire rosse come focho 
E la paura palida in quel locho. 
Thepikepurse (I am sorry to say) is Chaucer's own. 
Ver. 2002. The shepen] The Stable ; from the 
Sax. scypen, which signifies the same thing. The 
translator of Bede renders ad stahula jumentorum — 
to neata scypene. B. iv. c. 24. 


Ver. 2014. outhees] Outcry; from Hutesium, 2l 
term well known in our Law. This line has usually 
been printed — 

Armed complaint on theft and fiers corage. 
Ver. 2019. the shippes hoppesteres] It is needless 
to trouble the reader with the various readings and 
interpretations of this passage. To hoppe, in Saxon, 
signified exactly the same as to dance, though with 
us it has acquired a ludicrous sense ; and the ter- 
mination stre, or ster, was used to denote a female, 
like trix in Latin. As therefore ^female baker was 
called a bakester, a, female brewer a hrewestery di fe- 
male webbe (or weaver) a webbester, so, I conceive, 
2i female hopper, or dancer, was called an hoppester. 
It is well known that a ship, in most languages, in 
considered as a female. 

Though the idea of a ship dancing on the waves be 
not an unpoetical one, the adjunct hoppesters does 
not seem so proper in this place as the bellatrici 
of the Theseida, 1. vii. 

Vedevi ancor le navi bellatricif 
In voti carri e li volti guastati. 
In another respect Chaucer has improved upon his 
original, by representing the ships on fire. It should 
be observed that the principal circumstances in 
Boccace's description of this temple of Mars are 
copied from Statins, 1. vii. 

Ver. 2020. The hunte] The huntsmanj from the 


Sax. hunta. See before, ver. 1680. and below, ver. 
<i630. I know not what to l^iink of the two following 
lines. Was Chaucer serious, or did he mean, in this 
and some other similar passages, to ridicule the mi- 
nute and often incongruous descriptions of the old 
Romancers ? The lines are in all the Mss. 

Ver. 2(W7. Th' armerer and the bowyer] The 
Editions and all the Mss. except Dr. Askew's, read 
— The harbour and the bocher. I was glad to avail 
myself of the authority of those two Mss. to insert 
7%' armerer instead of The harbour, and in conse- 
quence of that emendation I have ventured (from 
conjecture only) to substitute the bowyer for the 

Ver. 2031. With thilke sharpe swerd] ThiUceis 
from conjecture only. The Mss. read — tfie, Sharpe 
is a Dissyllable in other places. See ver. 2028. 
2605. 9033. 

In the next line I have also put Yhangmg instead 
of Hanging. 

Ver. 2128. Armed they weren] This is upon the 
authority of Ed. M. The Mss. read — Armed were 

Ver. 2150. alauns] Alano is the Spanish name of 
a species of Dog, which the Dictionaries call a Mas- 
tiff. Sir J. Bouchier's translation of Froissart, B. iv. 
c. 24. " foure coursers and two Allans of Spaygne, 
fayre and good." 


Ver. 2154. Torettes] Rather, toretes, with the Mss 
>in the Fr. Touret, which is explained by Cot- 
ave to signify, among other things, " the little 
%gy by which a Hawkes Lune [or, Leash] is fas- 
ned unto the Jesses." Mr. Warton has shewn, by 
veral quotations, that toretes were affixed to the 
liars of dogs, for a similar purpose. Hist, of 
ig. Poetry, vol. I. p. 364. Our author says, that 
the Ringe [of the Astrolabe] renneth in a manner 
a turet" Tr. of Ast. fol. 291. b. 
Ver. 2170. fraknes] The Saxon word for what 
» cell freckles. 

Ver. 2206, What haukes] He alludes to the fol- 
ding description in the Theseida, 1. vii. 
I/aula grande d'alti cavalieri 
Tutta era piena, e di diverse gente. 
Quivi aveva zugulari e ministrieri 
Di diver si atti copiosamente, 
Zilfalchi, astori, falconi, e sparavieri, 
Brachi, livreri, e mastin veramente, 
Su per le stanze e in terra a giacere, 
Assai a quor zentili belli a vedere. 
Ver. 2219. And in hire houre] I cannot better 
ustrate Chaucer's Astrology than by a quotation 
om the old Kalendrier de Bergiers, Edit. 1500. 
ign, K. ii. b. Qui veult savoir comme bergiers 
ievent quel planete regne chascune heure du jour 
t de la nuit, doit savoir le planete du jour qui veult 


178 K^TES (Vir THE 

s'enquerir ; et la {premiere beure temporelle du soleil 
levant ce jour est pour celkiy pl)Biiiete. la seconde 
heure est pour la planete ensoivant. et la tierce poar 
Fautre, &c. io the folk>wing order, viz. Saturn, Js- 
piter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, Luna. To apjrfy 
this doctrine to the present case. The first hoar of 
the Sunday, reckoning from sun-rise, belonged to 
the Sun, the Planet of the day ; the second to Venue, 
the third to Mercury, &Cs and contifHii&g this me- 
thod of allotment, we shall find that the twenty* 
second hour also belonged to the Son, and the 
twenty-third to Venus ; so that the hour of Venms 
really was, as Chancer says, two houres before sun- 
rise of the following day. 

Accordingly, we are told in ver. 29?3. that the 
third hour after Palamon set out for the temple of 
Venus, the Sun rose, and Emeliie began ta go to the 
temple of Diane. It is not said, that this was the 
hour of Diane, or the Moon, but it really was ; for, 
as we have just seen, the twenty-third hour oi Sun- 
day belonging to Venus, the t?wenty-fourth m«st be 
given to Mercury, and the first hotir of Monday 
falls in course to the Moon, the presiding Planet of 
that day. 

After this Arcite is described as walking to- the 
temple of Mars, ver. ?369. in the nexte houre of Mars, 
that is, the fourth hour of the day. It is necessary 
to take these words togetheiv for the nexte hmre. 


singly, would signify the second houF of the day ; but 
that, according to the rule of rotation mentioned 
above, belonged to Saturn, as the third did to Ju- 
piter. The fourth was the nexte houre of Mars, that 
occurred after the hour last named. 

Ver. 2223. Fayrest of fayre] So Palamon in the 

O bella dea, del bon Vulcan^ sposa, 
Per cui se aliegra il monte Citherone, 
Dee i ti priego, che mi sii pietosa, 
Per quello amore che portasti ad Adone. 
And again. [See below, ver. 2240.] 

lo non te chegio in arme aver victoria — 
lo cercho sola Emilia, la qual poi 
Donarmi, Dea, se donar la mi voi. 

II modo trova tu, ch'io non ne euro 
O ch'io sia vinto, o ch'io sia vincitore. 
Ver. 2273. The thridde houre inequal] In the 
Astrological system, the day (from sun-rise to sun- 
set) and the night (from sun-set to sun-rise) being 
each divided into xii hours^ it is plain*, that the 
hours of the day and night were never equal, except 
just at the Equinoxes. The hours attributed' to the 
Planets were of this unequal sort. See Kalmdrier 
de Berg, loc. cit. and our auljfior's treatise on the 

Ver. 2283. Fu- mondo il tempio e dibei drapi or- 
nato, Thes. 1. vii. 


Ver. 2291. Hire bright here] So Emilia is de- 
scribed in Thes. 1. xii. 

Dicho che i suo crin parevan d'oro, 
Non con trezza restretti, ma soluti 
£ petinati. 
Ver. 2292. A coroune] Corona di querzia cereale. 
Thes. 1. vii. 

Ver. 235S. Shall thee declaren] This is improper, 
as the sires have already declared the event of the 
combat, in the Original, as I remember, the ap- 
pearance of Diana is prior to the Omen. 

Ver. 2372. payen] This French word is <:on8tantly 
used in the best Mss. instead of pagan. 

Ver. 2375. O stronge god] The prayer of Arcitein 
the Theseida begins in the same manner. 
A forte dio, che ne i regni nivosi 
Bistonii servi le tue sacre case — 
Se per alto volere la mia etate 
£ le mie forze meritan, che io 
De i toi sia detto, per quella pietate, 
Ch'ebbe Neptuno, alor che con disio 
Di Citharea usavi la beltate, 
Rinchiuso da Vulcan, ad ogni idio 
Facto palese, humilmente te priego, 
Che a 11 miei prieghi tu non fazi niego. 
To son come tu vidi giovinetto &c. 
Ver. 2404. Than heipe me] So in the Theseida. 
Dunque me ajuta per lo santo focho. 


Che te arse gia, si come me arde hora« 

I tempii tuoi eterni soneranno 

De Farmi del mio vinto compagnone, 

Et ancora le mie vi penderano — 

Eterni fochi sempre vi arderano, 

E la barboa [f. barba] e i mei con [f. crin] che 

Di ferro non sentiron te imprometto. 
Ver. 2451. out-rede] Out-wit surpass in Counsel. 
The sense of this word has been most ridiculously 
mistaken by Dryden» 

For this advantage age from youth has won, 

As not to be out-ridden, though out-run. 
Ver. 2469. Min ben also the maladies colde] I 
apprehend that maladies in this verse is to be pro- 
nounced as of four syllables. 

Min ben also the maladies c61de. 
So below, ver. 2495. 

Ther wds in th' h6stelries &11 ab6ute. 
And ver. 2591. 

Ther n'6re swiche c6mpagnies n6ver tw6y. 
However, if any one should prefer a hobbling line 
with another syllable in it, he may read with the 
best Mss. And min ben also &c. 

Ver. 2506. Guiding of sheldes] Rubbing from the 
Sax. Gnidan; /ricare. I have not scrupled to in- 
sert this reading in the text from a single Ms. (NO.) 


and that one of the least authority. Indeed both 
Caxton's Editions support it, for they read gttydftig; 
and n in many Mss. is undistinguishable from u. The 
other readings are, Gynggvnge, Gigging, Grigging, 
Girdmg^ Gyding, Gryding. 

Ver. 2513. Pipes, trompes] Theseida, 1. iL 

A una hora trombe, nachare, e tamiwri 

Sonaron forte. — 
See Du Cange, in v. Nacaba, who deecribes it to 
be a kind of brazen drum used in the cavalry. 
Ver. 2516. Here three] So in the Tlieseida. 

Qui tre, la quatro, e qui sei adunati, 

Tra lor mostrando diverse ragione. 
Ver. 2527. Held yet the chaaabre] So the The- 

Anchor le riche camere tenea 

Del sue palagio. 
Ver. 2535. an o] It may be doubted, whether 
this be an abbreviation of Oyer, or whether ike In- 
terjection Ho were used to command a cessation of 
noise, as well as of fighting, &c For the latter use, 
see V. 1708. 2658. and Holinshed. p. 496. The 
duke of Norfolke was not fallie set forward, when 
the King cast downe his warder, and the Heraldes 
cried. Ho, ho. 

Ver. 2552. himself to were] To defend. It is a 
Saxon word. See Chr. Sax. Gibs. p. S7. hiiie werede. 
te defendit, — and p. 14». See also Lydg. Tioy. B, if- 


That shelde ne plate might his body were. 
Ver. ^558. ylast] The prepositive y is an addi- 
tion of my own, for the sake of the metre ; but per- 
haps we might read, " No longer shal the toumey- 
inge last." See the n. <m ver. 1658. I should ob- 
serve that some Mbs, reod tournament, and Ms. D. 
taurmentengef tk^iich may lead us to suspect that 
C4aiicer possibly wrote, towmeymentmg. 

Ver. 2563. The vois of the peplc] So t^e The- 

Di nobili e del populo il romore 
Todio le stelle, si fu alto e forte, 
Li dei, dicendo, servi tal signore 
Che de gli amici suoi fugie la morte. 
Vet* 3OT8. the herte spone] This part of the hu- 
man body is not mentioned in any Dictionary, that 
I have seen. The following passage of Jotidon [Sad 
Shepherd, A. i. S. vi.] would incline one to suspect, 
that it means the concave part of the breast, where 
the lower ribs unite with the cartilago ensifomtis, 
—He that undoes him, [the deer,] 
Doth cleave the brisket bone, upon the spoon 
Of which a little gristle grows 
The Gloss, supposes tpone to be a Participle^ »if - 
aifyin^ Thrust, driven, pusht ; from the It. Spingere. 
Ver. 58617. He foiaeth on his foo] 2 have ven- 
tured to substitute /oo instead of foot, or feei, the 
readings of the Msa. Foot seems to have been ori- 


ginally introduced by a copyist from the preceding 
line, and to have been afterwards altered to feet, 'm 
order to make some sense. 

Ver. «628. the ?ale of Galaphey] This word is 
variously written; Colaphey, Galgaphey, Galapef. 
There was a town called Galaphaf in MaurUama 
Tingitana, upon the river Malta [Cellar. Geog. Ant. 
V. ii. p. 935.J which perhaps may have g^ven name 
to the vale here meant. For Belmarie, ver. 2632, 
see the note on ver. 57« 

Ver. 2673. The trompoures] the trumpeters. So 
the best Mss. If the learned Editor of Ancient Scottish 
Poems had found this word in this sense in his copy 
of Chaucer, he would not, I apprehend, have looked 
any further for an explanation of it in The DancCy 
by Dunbar, St. 2. v. 10. p. 27. 

Ver. 2677. Whiche a miracle] It is scarce ne- 
cessary to observe that which, in our ancient lan- 
guage, was often used for who and what. It is used 
for what here, and again, ver. 5621. 6875. 

Ver. 2685. And was all his in chere, as his in 
herte] I have patched up this verse, as well as I 
coud, out of the different copies. There is no au- 
thority, as I recollect, for the first in except Ca. 2. 
but it seems absolutely necessary : and all the copies 
read — as in his herte — which, I think, is evidently 

Ver. 2686. a fury] Most of the copies have a 


fire, Ms. A. reads a fayr. from which I have made 
the present reading, as in the Theseida it is Herinis, 
i. e. Erinnys, one of the Furies. 

Ver. 2698. corven] Cut out of his harness. I 
suppose to save the time and trouble of regularly 
disarming him, the laces &c. were cut. 

Ver. 2715. And fermacies] Pharmacies, I have 
added the and, which seems as necessary to the 
sense as to the metre. 

Ver. 2735. The gree] The prize ; the honour of 
the day. So in P. P. fol. 98. 

The gre yet hath he gotten, for al his grete 
And in that curious old Ballad, The turnament of 
Tottenham, ver. 91. [Ancient Poetry, v. ii.]. 

[To] which of all the bachelery granted is the gree. 

And again, ver. 186. 

They gathered Perkin about on every side, 
And grant him there the gree, the more was his 
It was necessary to vindicate this old phrase, as 
the Editions have discarded it for They grete. 

Ver. 2740. a joumee] A day*s work, or way, Fr. 
To make this still clearer, the Editions, in general, 
read — a dayes journey — and spoil the verse. 

Ver. 2748. bouke] The trunk of the body, proba- 
bly ; from the Sax. Buce, venter. 

Ver. 2802. oVernome] Overtaken ; from overni- 
man. Sax. 


Ver. 3803. And yet] So in the Theselda, I. x. 
£ anchor ne le brazza era perduta 
La vital forza, sol ne lo intelletto 
E nel core era ancora sostenuta 
La pocha vita. — 
Ver. 3813. Therfbre I stint] Tliis is appamatly 
a ding at Boccace's pompous description of the pas- 
sage of Arcite's soul to heaven, llies. 1. xi. It 
should be observed however « th^ our author had 
already made use of the same description in his 
Troilus, V. 18()6, seq. It is not in the Philostrato* 
Ver. 2817. ther Mars his soul gie] Hie force of 
ther in this passage will best appear by a collation 
of other similar passages. See particfilarly t^r, 
5022. 7143. 9182. 

Ver. 2855. He casteth] 1 have added Ehf to com- 
plete the verse. The use of pronouns redundantly 
is common in Chaucer. 

Ver. 2862. in that selve grove] In the Tkeseidaf 
Arcita is buried— nel bosco, ove rancuna. 
Aver sovente soleva de amore.' 
Ver. 2866. Of funeral] Of is a conjectural sufH 
plement. Or the verse may be (perhaps, better) 
completed, by taking in the word fuUy from Ms. 
NC. and Ed. Ca. 2.— in which ikt' office 
Funeral he might Mfslly accompliee. 
Ver. 2872. And after this] The second this ii 
from conjecture only. Some Mss. i?ead — And after 
this Theseus hath Fsen^— which perhaps is ri^ht. 


Ver. «879. bare the visage] If this expression 
were in Milton, the Criticks would not fail to call it 
an elegant Gracism. In Chaucer we can only hope 
that it may be allowed to be an elegant Anglidsm, 
Froissart says, that the corpse of our Edward III 
was carried *^ tout an long de la. (M4 de Londres, k 
▼isure decouvert, jtuques d fVestmonstier" V. i. c. 

Ver. 2885. With flotery berd] 'Hies. i. xi. 
Con rabuffata braza [or, barba] e tristo orine 
E polveroso. — 
Flotery seems literally to mean Jloting ; as hair dis* 
chevelled (rahhuffata) may be said to flote upon the 
air. Ruggy in rough. 

Ver. 2887. An passing over] According to this 
reading, the sense is plain, that Palamon was the 
reufullest &c. passing over, or excepting, Emelie. 
But all the Mss. that I have seen, read — other. If 
we adhere to that, we must dispose the Parenthesis 
thus : 

And (passing other of wepin^) Emelie 
The reufullest &c. — 
and the sense will be, that with Palamon came also 
Eknelie (passing others of, or in, weping) the reuiiil* 
lest &c. But such a construction would be very harsh 
and unlike Chaucer's usual facility ; and therefore I 
rather believe we should read — otier.-— with Ed. Urr. 

Ver. 2897. his bow Turkeisj So in the Rom. de 


la R. Love is said to have deux arcs Turquois, ver. 

Ver. 2904. the maister strete] The principal stiett 
Le souverain carrefour. Froissart, v. iv. c. 28. 

Ver. 2960. the liche-wake] The custom of watch' 
ing with dead bodies (lice. Sax.) is probably very an- 
cient in this country. It was abused, as other Wakes 
and Vigils were. See Du Cange, in v. Vigili*. 
In vigiUis circa corpora\martuorum vetantur chorea et 
cantilerue, seculares ludi et alii turpes etfatui. Synod. 
Wigorn. an. 1240. c. 5. Chaucer seems to have 
confounded the Wake-plays (as they were called) 
of his own time with the Funeral-games of the An- 
tients. So in Troilus, y. 303. Troilus says to 

But of the fire and flambe funeral 
In which my body brennen shall to glede, 
And ofthefeste and places palestral 
At my vigile I pray thee take good hede. 
Ver. 2964. in no disjoint] With no disadoantage. 
So ver. 13341. in swiche disjoint; at such disad- 

Ver. 2993. that fayre chaine of loye] Our au- 
thor's philosophy is borrowed, as it is usually, from 
Boethius. L. ii. Met. 8. 

Hanc rerum seriem ligat, 
Terras ac pelagus regens, 
Et cffilo imperitans, amor 


See also, for what follows, L. iv. Pr. 6. 
Ver. 3019. Lo the oke] So in the Theseida. 
Li querci, che anno si lungo nutrimento 
E tanta vita quanto noi vedemo, 
Anno pur alcun tempo finimento. 
Le dure pietre ancor &c. 
Ver. 3043. Than is it wisdom] From the Theseida, 
E pero fare de la necessitate 
Virtu, quando bisogna, e sapientia, 
E il contrario e chiara vanitate. 
Ver. 3055. his vassalage] Valour, pr(mess, Frois- 
sart, V. i. c. 271. ^ grand honneur et vassellage. 
See Du Cange, in v. Vassaticum. 

Ver. 3078. With all th' avys] So the Statute 
5 H. IV. is said in the Preamble to be made — de 
VaMis et assent des Seignurs &c. The same form 
is used in most of the Acts of that reign. 

Ver- 3091. oweth] By writing this word so (ac- 
cording to some Mss.) we preserve a proper distinc- 
tion between oweth, the third person Sing, of the 
Present Tense, and ought, which was formerly only 
used in the Past Tense. 

Ver. 3109. Thus endeth Palamon] Before I quit 
this tale, I will just take notice that the same sub- 
ject has been treated twice in French verse, many 
years since Chaucer's time, by two Ladies « The 
one, Anne de GraviUe, is said by Du Verdier [BibL 
p. 42 ] to have translated de viell langage et prose 

190 NOT£S OM TH£ 

Le beau Roman t des deux amants Palatnon et Araia, 
It began thus : 

Victorieux en annes et amours 
Fut Theseus, apres que plusieurs jour» 
But sejourn^ en I'Amazone terre, 
Ou Cupido et Mars luy firent ^erre, 
Les quels vainquit et Hypolite ausi-*« 
The other, Jeanne de la Fontamey is mentioQed by 
La Croix du Maine ; and it was most probably her 
poem, that Johannes Secundus has celebrated^ 1. iii. 
Eleg. XV. as he appears to have written ber Epiti^h 
and a Nania upon her death. V. Lib. Funer — inter 
0pp. Secund. 

In the new Edit, of Les Bibliotheques Franpmei^ 
the Poem of Anne de Graville is said to be still pre- 
served in the Royal Library at Paris ; and I find 
from a note of M. de la Monnoye in that Edit that 
he was well apprized of our Chaucer's baying bor- 
rowed this tale from the Theseida. 

Ver. 3126. in Pilates^ vois] In sucb* a voice as 
Pilate was used to speak with in the Mysteries. Pi- 
late, being an odious character, was probably repre- 
sented as speaking with a harsh, disagreeable voice. 
Ver. 3156. After this verse, the two following aM 
found in so many Mss. that perhaps they oug^t to 
have been inserted in the text. 

And: ever a thousand good' ageins. oo^lMadde ; 
That knowest thou wel, but if tboa be nadde. 


VeF. SI 7^. as deme not] This phrase has occurred 
before : ver. 2304. As kepeme. Ver. 2319*. As sende. 
I once thought that as in these cases was used elHp- 
tically for do so much as ; but the« the folio wiag* 
verb must have been in the infinitive mood, whereas^ 
it is often in the imperative. See ver. 5773. As 
taketh^ Ver. 6631. As doth. Ver. 13352. As beth. 
I acn therefore rather inclined to understand it in 
the sense of 9», according to ks original etymology. 
As is an abbreviation of als, and that of al swa ; sic 
omniMo, See ver. 5481. 5778. 7007. 

Ver. 3199. hendy Nicholas] Hendy, ox Hende (as 
it was more commonly written) signified, courteous. 
So ver. 6868. 

— A, sire, ye shuld ben hende, 
And curteis, as a man of youre estat. 

Ver. 3210. augrim-stones] Augrim is a corruption 
of Algorithm^ the Arabian term for Numeration. Au- 
grim-stones therefore were the pebbles, or counters, 
which were anciently used in Numeration. 

Ver. 3217. the kinges note] What this note, or 
tune, was I must leave to be explained by the Musi- 
cal Antiquaries. Angelus ad virginem, 1 suppose, 
was Ave Maria &c. 

Ver. 3223. Of eightene yere] The words — I gesse 
— are not in the Mss. Ms. A. reads^ seventene; 
which perhaps may be right, if seventene be pro- 
nounced as of four syllables. Ask. 1 and 2. would 


remove all difficulties by reading. Of eightene yere 
this woman was of age. 

Ver. 3227. He knew not Caton] The calling of 
this author Caton shews, that he was more studied 
in French than in Latin. See below, ver. 9251. 
1494'). 16155. Who he was, or of what age, is un- 
certain; but his authority, four or five hundred 
years ago, seems to have been as great as if he had 
really been the famous Censor of Rome. However, 
the maxim here alluded to is not properly one of 
Cato's ; but I find it in a kind of Supplement to the 
Moral Distichs, entitled Facetus int. Auctores octo 
morales. Lugd. 1538. cap. iii. 

Due tibi prole parem sponsam moresque yenus- 

Si cum pace velis vitam deducere justam. 
The same treatise, or at least one with the same be- 
ginning and on the same subject, is mentioned in 
the Cat. Mss. Coll. Trin. Dublin, n. 275. under the 
title of Urbanus. It is there attributed to Daniel 
Ecclesiensis (Churche), who lived about the year 
1180. See Bale. Cent. iii. I7. and Fabric. Bib. 
Med. Mt in v. 

Ver. 3237. many a gore'] This word is used again 
in ver. 13719. I do not understand it in either place. 

Ver. 3248. the newe perjenete tree] Some of the 
Mss. read, perjonettef as if the word were derived 
from the Ital. pero giovanetto, rather than from the 


Fr. poire, or pere, jeunette. In either case it signifies 
a you7ig pear. 

Ver. 3247. blisful for to see] The better Msis. read 
— on to see, — which I believe is right. See Lydg. 
Troy, B. iii. ch. xxii. 

His brother Troylus, so goodly ofi to see. — 
and Gower, Conf. Am, fol. 17. b. 

Tho was she fouler unto [r. on to] se, 

Ver. 3251. perled with latoun] That is, I be- 
lieve, ornamented with latoun in the shape of pearls. 
It is probable that some very elegant purses were 
embroidered with real pearls. 

Ver. 3254. So gay d^popelof] This word may either 
be considered as a diminutive from Poup^e, a Pup- 
pet ; or as a corruption of Papillot, a young but- 

Ver. 3268. a primerole] Old Fr. for a Primrose, 
It is used by Gower. Conf. Am. fol. 14S. 

Ibid, a piggesnie] The Romans used ocuIussls a 
term of endearment, and perhaps piggesnie, in vul- 
gar language, only means ocellus ; the eyes of that 
animal being remarkably small. The word occurs 
again in the Reniedie of Love, ver. 257. though I do 
not believe that to be a work of Chaucer. 

Ver. 3286. harow] It would much exceed the 
limits of these notes to recite the several opinions 
concerning the original of this word. The curious 
reader may consult Du Cange in v. and Hickes; 

VOL. IV. o 


Gr. Fr. Theot. p. 96. I rather l^elieve it to have 
been derived from Har, alius, and Op, clatnor, two 
Islandic words, which were probably once common 
to all the Scandinavian nations. See Gndmund. 
Andr. Lex. Island, by Resenius. Hafn. 1683. In 
support of this opinion, it may be observed, that the 
very word Haroep, or Harop^ was used by some of 
the inhabitants of the Low-countries in the same 
sense in which Harou was by the Normans. Da 
Cange, in v. Haroep. 

Ver. 3308. of Cristes] Of is added, from conjec- 
ture only. 

Ver. 3318. With Poul'es windows] Perhaps this 
means, that his shoes were cut in squares, like panes 
of glass. Bale mentions fenestratos calceos as making 
part of the habit of the Franciscans. Cent. iv. 27. 
and 91. They also occur in the Cistercian Statutes 
an. 1529. and the Monks are forbidden to wear 
them. Du Cange, in v. Calcei fenestrati. 

Ver. 3321. of a light waget] Or, Watchet. Skin- 
ner explains Watchet to mean a colour ^ a whitish 
blue ; but in this place it seems rather to mean some 
kind of cloth; denominated, perhaps, from the town 
of Watchet, in Somersetshire. Instead of light, some 
Mss. read^n ; and Ms. A. whit. This last epithet 
would be quite inconsistent with Skinner's explana- 

Ver. 3329. the scole of Oxenforde] The school of 


Oxford seems to have been in much the same esti- 
mation for its dancing, as that of Stratford for its 
French. See before, ver. 125. Oxenforde is a Qua- 
drisyllable. Oxnaforda, Sax. 

Ver. 3336. tapstere] X female keeper of a tap, or 
tavern. See n. on ver. 2019. and the Prol. to the 
Continuation of the C. T. Ed. Urr. p. 594. 

Ver. 3337. squaimous] Squeamish^ but I know 
not how to make that sense agree with what follows. 
Robert of Bruhne [in his translation of Manuel des 
Pechees, Ms. Bod. 2078. fol. 46.] writes this word, 
esquaimous ; which is nearer to its original exqua- 
miare^ a corruption of excambiare, 

Ver. 2358. a shot window] That is, I suppose, a 
window that was shut. It might perhaps be better 
to write this word (with some of the Mss.) shet^ or 
shette ; as Chaucer does in other places, ver. 16605. 
16610. Ms. A. reads shop ; and HA. short, 

Ver. 3361, 2.] These two lines, containing Ab- 
solon's Song, were meant, I apprehend, to be broken 
into four short verses, which will rime together very 
harmoniously, if the accent be laid upon the last of 
lady'j as it often is in such compositions. 

Ver. 3382. And sora for strokes.] In the margin 
of Ms. C. 1. is the following note. '* Ovid. Ictibus 
agrestis &c." 

Ver. 3384. He plaieth Herode] This is much in 
character. The Parish-Clerks had always a prin- 


cipal share in the representation of Mysteries. See 
the Pref. to Dodsley's Old Plays, p. xii. 

Ver. 3392. the neighe slie] Gower has this pro- 
verbe. Conf, Am, B. iii. f. 58. 

An olde sawe is : who that is slygh 
In place wher he may be nyghe, 
He maketh the ferre leef loth. 

Ver. 3449. Seinte Frideswide] Seint is one of 
the very few French adjectives, which, after their 
naturalization here, retained for a considerable timei 
I apprehend, a distinction of Gender. See the 
Essay &c. p. 44. 

Chaucer always writes it Seinte^ when he uses it 
in the feminine gender ; and the final e is often to 
be pronounced, as in this place. See ver. 7186. 
10292. Seinte Marie.— ver. 7406. T701. Semk 
Charitee. Of the same form are Excellente, ver. 
10459. and Peregriney ver. 10742. 

There is great propriety in making the Carpenter 
invoke St. Frideswide, who was Patroness of a con- 
siderable Priory at Oxford, and in high estimation 

Ver. 3457. another clerk] He alludes to a story, 
which is told of the famous Thales by Plato in his 
ThetEtetuSy p. 127. Ed. Fie. but our author probably 
read it in the Cento Niwelle Antiche. N. 36. It is 
there entitled, D*uno Strologo ch* ebbe nome MtlenmSj 
chefu ripreso da una donna. 


Ver. 3479. wightes] Witches, In the Teutonic, 
Wite-vrouwe ; but whether they were so called from 
their wisdom, or from their being supposed to be 
clothed in whiter is not clear. A widow , in that lan- 
guage, is called a wit-vromoe, from the latter cir- 
cumstance. Kilian in v. See Keysler*s Dissertation 
de Mulierihus Fatidicis, in which, with a great deal 
of learning and probability, he has traced the popu- 
lar notions of witches and witchcraft, in the northern 
parts of Europe, from a very early period. The 
faculty of floating upon the water, so as not to be 
capable of being drowned, is ascribed by Pliny to a 
race of male-witches in Pontus. Nat. Hist. 1. vii. c. 2. 
non posse mergi, ne quidem vestibus degravatos. 

Ver. 3480. the Night-spel] The charm, which 
follows, ver. 3483 — 6. is so lamely represented in 
all the Mss. that I have left it as I found it in the 
common editions. It might perhaps be a little im- 
proved by reading it thus : 

Jesu Crist and Seint Benedight 
Blisse this hous from every wight. 
Fro the nightes mare. Pater-noster. 
Wher wonest thou Seint Peter's suster ? 
In ver. 2. wicked may be left out upon the authority 
of Ms. A. and others. It is certainly an unnecessary 

Ver. 3. Pater-noster was often repeated in the 
middle, as well as at the end, of charms. 


ver. 4. Instead of wonest, some copies read wend- 
est. I do not understand how the Night-mare 
came to be allied to St. Peter. 

To say the truth, I suspect this charm to be an 
interpolation. We have a Night-spel of another 
form in Gervas. Tilber. Otia Imper. 1. iii. c. 93. See 
also the Decameron. D. vii. N. 1. 

Fantasima, Fantasima^ 

Che di notte vai, 

A coda ritta ci venisti, 

A coda ritta te n*andrai &c. 
Concerning the Night^mare, see Keysler, Antiq., Sep- 
tent, p. 497. 

Ver. 3509. no labbe] No blab. Labben, Holl. 
Klappen, Belg. blaterare, Kilian. 

Ver. 3512.harwed helle] Harried. Sax. harrassed, 
subdued. Our ancestors were very fond of a story 
of Christ's exploits in his Descensus ad inferos^ which 
they called the harrowing of Helle. They took it, 
with several others of the same stamp, irom the 
Gospel of Nicodemus. Fabr. Cod. Apoc. N. T. 
There is a Poem upon this subject in Ms. Bod, 1687* 

Hou Jesu Crist herowed helle 

Of harde gestes ich wille telle. 
And in the Chester Whitsuh-PlayeSy Ms. Harh 2013. 
the company of Cookes, which was to exhibit the 
17 th Pageant, or the Descensus ad inferna, is thus 


You Cookes with your carriage see that you 

doe well, 
In pagente sett out the harrowinge of hell. 
See also P. P. pass. xix. f. lol — 3. 
Ver. 3526. for God] Pour dieu. Fr. 
Ver. 3539. The sorwe of Noe] It will be in vain, 
I apprehend, to look for this anecdote in Genesis, 
even in Dr. Kennicot's edition. Nicholas probably 
quoted it from the Mysteries, with which the Car- 
penter was better acquainted. The dispute between 
Noah and his wife upon this occasion makes a con- 
siderable part of the 3d Pageant of the Chester Whit- 
sun-Playes above-mentioned. Ms. Harl. 2013. The 
following lines will shew the grounds of her refusal 
to embark, 

Noe. Wife, come in, why standes thou there ? 
Thou art ever froward, that dare I swere. 
Come in on Godes halfe ; tyme it were, 
For feat lest that wee drowne. 
Wife. Yea, Sir, set up your saile. 
And rowe forth with evil haile. 
For withouten anie faile 

I wil not oute of this toune ; 
But I have my gossepes everich one. 
One foote further I will not gone : 
They shal not drown by St. John, 

And I may save ther life. 
They loved me full well by Christ. 


But thou will let them into thie chisty 
Ellis rowe forth, Noe, when thou list. 
And get thee a newe wife. 
At last Sem, with the assistance of his brethren^ 
fetches her on board by force, and upon Noah's 
welcoming her she gives him a box on the ear. 

These Playes are said (perhaps truly) to have 
been first written in 13^8. but the Harleian Ms. re- 
presents them, as they were to be exhibited in 1600. 
There is a better copy of the same Playes in the 
Bodl. Lib. E. N. 115. transcribed by one William 
Bedford, 1604.. but even in that we see but small 
remains of the original diction and orthography. 

Ver. 3624. His owen bond] With his own hand. 
So Gower, Conf. Am, fol. 76. b. 

The crafte Mynerve of woUe fonde. 
And made cloth her owen honde. 
See also fol. 113. a. 

Thyng which he sayd his owne mouth, 
Ver. 3625. the stalkes] The steps. Gloss. Urr. but 
I rather believe the rentes to mean the steps^ and 
the stalkes the upright pieces of a ladder. 

Ver. 3638. clum] From the Sax. clumian, mus- 
sitare, murmuare. 

Ver. 3692. a trewe love] What kind of thing this 
was to be borne under the tongue, I do not. under- 
stand. See Gloss, in v. Trewb-love. 

Ver. 3703. I swelte and swete] SweUan^ Sax. 


signifies To die. Chaucer uses swelte to signify the 
effect of a great oppression of spirits. See ver. 
1358. 9650. R. R. 2480. Hence our word sultry 
(sweltry) to express a suffocating heat. 

Ver. 3709. it wol not be, compame] So Ma. C. 1. 
It is put (for the sake of the rime) instead of the 
Fr. Compaine, compagnon. We use friend in the 
same sense. In Ms. C. it is written compaine; in 
some of the best Ms. com bame. The EdLtions read — 
As helpe me God and sweet Saiiit Jame. 

Ver. 3724. thyne ore] The Editt. have made it 
thy nore. But ore is the right word. It signifies 
grace, favour, protection. See R. G. p. 381. mylce 
and ore. mercy and grace, — p. 475. in was ore ich 
am ido. in whose protection I am put. And Li beaus 
disconus, Ms. Cotton, Cal. A. ii. fol. 49. b. 
Syr Ly beaus thurstede sore, 
And seyde ; Maugys, thyn ore. 
To drinke lette me go. 
Where thyne ore must be understood to mean with 
thy favour, as in this passage of Chaucer. 

Ver. 3768. the viretote] This is the reading of 
the best Mss. The explanation of the word I leave 
to the reader's sagacity. 

Ver. 3772. more tawe on his distaf ] So in Frois- 
sart, V. iv. p. 92. Ed. 1574. II aura en bref temps 
autres estoupes en sa quenoille, 

Ver. 3809. an hondbrede al aboute] Al has been 
added for the sake of the metre^ but, I believe, un- 


necessarily. The original phrase was an hondes 
bredcy an hand's breadth ; so that hondebrede (as it 
is written in some Mss.) would naturally continue 
to be pronounced as a trisyllable. 

Ver. 3819. he fond neyther to selle] This is a 
French phrase. Fabliaux, t. ii. p. 282. 
Ainc tant come il mist k descendre 
Ne trouva point de pain a vendre. 
In the next verse, sellcy for the sake of the rime, is 
put for sille. Sax. Syl. Fr. sueU, Lat. solum. 

Ver. 3853. Whan folk han laughed] The better 
Mss. read — laughen, which therefore is probably 
right. Chaucer sometimes forms the Participle of 
the past time in en, even in those verbs, of which he 
also uses the Participle in ed. See ver. 3311. washen; 
7S54,far€n ; for washed, and/ared. 

Ver. 3862. So the ik] So the I ; so may I *^,or 
thrive. This ancient phrase is terribly corrupted in 
most of the Mss. and Editt. It occurs again below, 
ver. 12881. 16397. 

Ver. 3863. With blering] With a trick put upon 
a proud Miller. So ver. 17201. blered is thyn eye; 
thou art cheated. And R. R. ver. 3912. almost 
blered is mine eye ; I am almost cheated, 

Ver. 3877. As hath a leke] Boccace has the 
same allusion. Decam. Introd. to D. iv. Et quegU, 
che contra alia mia eta parlando vanno, mostrcm male 
che conoscanOy che per che ilporro habbi il capo bian- 
co , che la coda sia verde. 


Ver. 3880. Yet in our ashen] There is so gre^t 
a resemblance between this line and the following 
of the Church-yard Elegy, Dodsley's Coll. vol. 4. 

Ev*n in our ashes live their wonted fires — 
that I should certainly have considered the latter as 
an imitation, if Mr. Gray himself had not referred 
us to the 169 (170) Sonnet of Petrarch, as his ori- 
ginal. CK i' veggio nel pensier &c. 

Ver. 3893. the chimbe] Kime, Teut. means the 
prominency of the Staves beyond the head of the 
barrel. The imagery is very exact and beautiful. 

Ver. 3902. of a souter a shipman or a leche.] The 
Proverbial expression, Ex sutore medicus, was per- 
haps derived from the fable of Phsedrus with that 
title. L. i. Fab. 14. The other, Ex sutore nauclerus, 
is alluded to by Pynson the printer, at the end of 
his Edit, of Littelton's Tenures, 1525. [AmeSy p. 
488.] Speaking of one Redman, another printer, he 
says, — " Miror profecto unde nunc tandem se fatea- 
tur typogiaphum, nisi forte quum Diabolus sutorem 
nauclerum, et ilium calcographum fecit." 

Ver. 3904. it is half way prime] In the Discourse 
&c. § xiv. I have supposed that this means half 
way past prime , about half hour after seven A. M. 
the half way between Prime and Terce. In the fic- 
titious Modus tenendi Parliamentum (a book not 
much older than Chaucer) Hora media primcB seems 
to be tised in the same sense, c. de diehus et horis 
ParUam£nH, Ms. Cotton, Nero. D. vi. On common 


days Parliamentum debet inchoari hora medi^ piims 
— in diebus festivis horsl prim& propter divinum servi- 
tium. In a contemporary French translation of this 
treatise, Ms. HarL 305. hora medicB prinuB is ren- 
dered a la my heure le prime; in an old English ver- 
sion, Ms. HarL 930. the oure of mydpryme ; and in 
another, Ms. Harl. 1309. midde prime time. Our au- 
thor uses prime large ver. 10674. to signify that 
prime was considerably past. 

Ver. 3909. set his howe] His hood. So in Tr. 
B. iii. 775. an howve above a call signifies a hood 
over a cap. And in P. P. fol. 4. Serjeants at Law 
are described in howves of Silk; but in fol. 16. it is 

Shal no sergeant for his service were no sUke 
Both words seem to be derived from the Teut. 
Hoofd; a head. 

Hood and Cap being equally coverings for the 
head, to set a man's howve is the same as to set his cap. 
See n. on ver. 587. 

Ver. 3927. a long pavade] It appears from ver. 
3958, that the pavade was a weapon of offence. Of 
what sort I cannot tell, as I do not remember to 
have met with the word any where else. Pavois, Fr. 
in those times signified a long shield, 

Ver. 3929. A joly popper] A bodkin, according to 
Sp. and Sk. who however produce no authority for 
such an interpretation. The name seems to be fitter 


for a pistol; though I am not prepared to prove that 
pistols were carried in the pocket in Chaucer's 

Ver. 3934. a market-beter] One that makes quar- 
rels in markets, says the Glossary. But, according 
to Mr. Upton [Pref. to Observ. on Shakesp. p. xx.] 
" A market-beter is one who raises the price of the 
market. — To beat the fire Chaucer uses in the 
Knight's Tale [ver. 2255. 2294.] for— #o rouse, to 
stir up,*' Though this explanation of Mr. Upton's 
be not quite satisfactory I think it far preferable to 
the other. See the Gloss, and Supp. in v. Market- 
beter. In a more modern author to beat the mar^ 
ket seems to signifie merely to go up and down the 
market. Promos and Cassandra, by Whetstone, 
Act IV. S. 6. A servant says, 

*' Wyldfouley &c. are so deare,^^ 
That this houre I have the market betty 
To drive a bargayne to my most profytt." 
Ver. 3939. deinous Simekin] His name was Simon 
[ver. 4020, 4.], of which Simekin is the diminutive ; 
and from his disdainful, insolent manners he had ac- 
quired the surname of Deinous, just as Nicholas, in 
the former tale, ver. 3199. *^ was cleped Hendy,' 
from the very opposite behaviour. A great num- 
ber of our surnames have been derived from quali- 
ties of the mind, and it is reasonable to suppose 
that at the beginning they were merely personal, like 
what we call nickname. It is probable that the u$e 


of hereditary surnames was not^ even in Chaucer's 
time, fully established among the lower classes of 

Ver. 3988. the Soler hall] This is the true read- 
ing. It means the HaU with the Soler. Before the 
students in our Universities were incorporated, they 
lived in lodging-houses, called Inns, Halls, and 
Hostels,- which were often distinguished by names 
taken from some peculiarity in their construction. 
One at Cambridge was called Tyled Ostle, [Parker^s 
Seel. Cantab, ap. Lei. Collect, t. v. p. 189.] And 
at Oxford Oriel-College probably derives its name 
from a large Messuage, vulgarly known by the name 
of Le Oriele, upon the site of which it stands. Ay- 
liffe's Hist. v. i. p 287. An Oriel, or Oriol, was a 
Porch; [Du Cange, in v. Oeiolum] as a Soler 
seems originally to have signified an open gaUery, 
or balcony, at the top of the house ; though latterly 
it has been used for any upper room, loft, or garret. 
[Idem, in v. Solarium. Watts, Gloss, ad Mat 
Par.] Froissart, v. i. c. 234. Les femmes de la 
ville monterent en leurs logis et en solliers. In the 
description of Cambridge above cited, p. 188.* there 
is mentioned a Garret-ostle, Mr. Warton strongly 
confirms this reading. Hist, of Eng. Poetry, Vol. i. 
p. 432. note n. 

Ver. 4012. Strother] I cannot find any place of 
this name in England; there is a Struthers, or 
Strauther, in the Shire of Fife. 


Ver. 4021. How fares] It maybe observed, that 
Chaucer has given his Northern Clerks a northern 
dialect. . I will just point out a few particulars in 
which their language differs from that used in the 
rest of his work. 

1 . They terminate the third person Singular, and 
the whole Plural number of their verbs in es, instead 
of eth, or en. So, in the present instance, we have 
^— fares ; and in the lines immediately following — 
has; behoves ) has; werkes; gas; wagges ; falles, 

2. They use a in a great number of words, which 
Chaucer in other places writes with o ; as, swa for 
so ; hame for home ; fra for fro, ver. 4071, 2. banes 
and aneSy for bones and ones, &c. That this was the 
Northern practice appears from the following note. 
Hist. Abbat. Pipe well. Monast. Ang. v. i, p. 816. 
£t 'Sciendum quod Monachi boreales scripderunt in 
cartis nostris Rahage pro Rohawe, 

3. Many of their words are of the obsolete Saxon 
form; as ver. 4031. henen, (or hennes; ver. 4076. 
whilke foT whiche ; ver. 4083. alswa for also ; ver. 
4128. slike (from swilke) instead of swiche; ver. 
4130. gar for makCf or let; &c. 

4. If I am not mistaken, he has designedly given 
them a vulgar, ungrammatical phraseology. I do 
not remember in any other part of his writings such 
a line as ver. 4043. 

I i5 as ill a miller as is ye. 
See also vier. 4084. lis ; ver. 4087. Thou is. 


Ver. 4027. I hope] / expect. It signifies the mere 
expectation of a future event, whether good or «yil, 
as cXirt^o; Gr. and spero Lat. often do. So in 
Shakespeare, Ant. and Ci. 

I cannot hope 
Ceesar and Anthony shall well greet together. 
Ver. 4038. answered] Sax. andstoarode is a com- 
pound word of AND, contra, and swarariy which, in 
the Islandic, signifies dicere, Barthol. Ant. Dan. p. 
690. Thorbiorg svarar. Thorbiorga dicit* This 
etymology accounts for its being accented upon the 
middle syllable — answered. See ver. 4126. 

Ver. 4053. to the wolf thus spake the Mare] The 
story alluded to is told of a mule in Cent. Nov. Ant. 
N. 91. The Mule pretends, that his name is writ- 
ten upon the bottom of his hind-foot. The Wolf 
attempting to read it, the Mule gives him a kick on 
the forehead and kills him. Upon which the Fox, 
who was present, observes, Ogni huomo, che sa let- 
terttf non ^ savio. There is a similar story of a 
Wolf and a Mare, in the most delectable History of 
Reynard the Fox. Edit. 170I. ch. xviii. but whe- 
ther that story be in Caxton's edition ; whether it 
be in the Dutch book from which Caxton trans- 
lated ; whether the Dutch book be an original com- 
position or a translation ; when it was written &c. 
are all points, upon which I wish to be informed by 
some more knowing Antiquary. I will just observe 
that one of the Foxes tricks, ch. xiv. seems to be 


alluded to by Richal de Berbeiffeil [Richard de 
Berbezieux] a Provencal poet, who died in 1383. 
[Quadrio, t. ii. p. 144.] I will cite the passage from 
Ms. Crofts, fol. cxci. though I do not understand 
the last clause. 

Anc Ranart d'Isengrin 

Tan gen no sap venjar, 

Qan lo fiz escorzar, 

Ell dit per eschernir 

Chapels et gan Com eu faz no mair. 
Reynard here seems to have procured Isegrim's 
skin to be stript ofF, to make him a hood and gloves. 
In the English, he procures the Wolfes shoes to be 
pulled off and put upon his own feet. 

Ver. 4059. a Jevesell] This word is plainly de- 
rived from the Sax. lefe, folium, and setl, sedes, 
Metesel is a word of the same form. Peter of Langt. 
p. 334. " It neghed nere metesel." It was near the 
time of sitting down to dimier, A levesel therefore 
signifies a leafy seat, an arbour. It may be under- 
stood in the same sense in the Persones Tale, p. 
43. ** right as the gay levesell at the Taveme is signe 
of the win that is in the celler" So that perhaps 
our old proverb, Good wine needs no bush, meant 
originally — no arbour to drink it in. Latterly how- 
ever levesel was used for bush; as in this passage of 
Rowley's Ellinoure and Juga. St. iv. 3. 4. 

No mo the amblyng palfrie and the home 

Shall from the lessel rouze the foxe awaie. 

VOL. IV. p 


See the Taum and CoufUry Magazine^ for May, 
1769. p. ^73. — When this note was written, I was 
in hopes of being able to refer the reader to soBie 
more creditable edition of this poem. But the in- 
fluence of those malignant stars, which so long coo- 
fined poor Rowley in his iron chesty seems still to 
predominate. Seriously it were much to be wished, 
that the gentleman, who is possessed of the s^ re- 
maining fragments of this unfortunate authcft'^ would 
print them as soon as possible. If be should not 
have leisure or inclination to be the Editor hipnself, 
he might easily find a proper person to take that 
trouble for him, as nothing more would be requisite, 
than to print the several pieces faithfully from their 
respective Mss. distinguishing which of those Mss. 
are originals and which transcripts, and also by 
whom, and when, the transcripts were made, as far 
as that can be ascertained. 

Ver. 4094. make a clerkes berde] i. e. checU him. 
Faire la barbSf Fr. is to shave^ or trim the beafd ; 
but Chaucer translates the phrase literally^ at least 
when he uses it in its metaphorical sense. See ver. 
5943. and H. of F. ii. 181. Boccace has the same 
metaphor. Decam, viii. 10. Speaking of some ex- 
orbitant cheats, he says, that they applied them- 
selves — '' non a radere ma a scorticare huomim .**' 
and a little lower — ** si a soavemenie la barbiera 
saputo menare il ratoio, 

Ver. 4138. chalons] Whatever they were, they 


probably were so called from their being made at 
ChaUms, The Glossary interprets them to be 6ton- 
kets ; but a passage in the Monast. v. ii. p. 720. 
would rather lead one to suppose them coverlets ; — 
aut pannos pictos, qui vocantur Chalum, loco lee- 

Ver. 4206. a cokenay] That thifi is a term of con- 
tempty borrowed originally from the kitchen, is very 
probable, A Cook^ in the base Latinity, was called 
Coqumator, and Coquinarius, ftom either of which 
Cokenay might easily be deriveid. In P. P. fol. 
xxxy. b. 

And yet I say by my soule I have no sak bacon, 

Ne no cokeney by Christe coloppes to make. 
It seems to signify a Cook, And 90, perhaps, in the 
Turnament of Tottenham. Anc. Poet U ii. p« 24. 

At that feast were they served in ridi array ; 

Evei-y five and five had a cokeney. 
That is, I suppose, cook or scullion, to attend them. 
In those rimes ascribed to Hugh Bigot, which 
Camden has published, Biit. col. 451. (upon what 
authority, I know not) 

" Were I in my castle of Bungey 

" Upon the river of Wavcney, 

^* I would ne care for the King of Cockeney*' 
The author, in calling London Cacken^^ might pos* 
sibly allude to that imaginary country of idleness 
and luxury, which was anciently known by the name 


of CokaignCf or Cocagne; a name which Hickes has 
shewn to be derived from Coquina. Gr. A. S. p. 231. 
He has there published an excellent description of 
the country of Cokaigne, in old English verse, but 
probably translated from the French. At least the 
French have had the same fable among them, for 
Boileau plainly alludes to it. Sat. vi. 

Paris est pour un riche un pais de Cocagne. 
The festival of La Cocagna at Naples, described by 
Keysler, v. ii. p. 369. appears to have the same 
foundation. It probably commenced under the Nor- 
man government. There is a mock-heroic poem, in 
the Sicilian dialect, entitled La Cuccagna conquistataf 
by Gio. Battista Basili; Palerm. 1674. in which the 
description of Valma citta di Cuccagna begins thus : 
Sedi Cuccagna sutta una montagna 
Di furmaggiu grattatu, et havi in cima 
Di maccaruni una caudara magna. 
Ver. 4318. Him thar not] I have restored this old 
word, upon the authority of the best Mss. in this and 
other places. See ver. 5911. 5918. 6947. 17301. It 
is derived from the Sax. thearfian, necesse habere ; 
and is generally used as an Impersonal." ERm be* 
hoveth not to winne^ or acquire good, that doth evil." 
I have ventured to substitute winne instead of the 
common reading wene^ of which I coud make no 
sense. Ms. B. I. reads. He may nought u)ilnew, 
Ver. 4345, a Jacke of Dover] The general pur- 


port of this phrase is sufficiently explained in the 
following line ; but the particular meaning I have 
not been able to investigate. 

Ver. 4348. of thy perselee] An old Boke ofKokeryy 
which I have consulted upon this occasion, Ms. Harl, 
4016. has a receipt for ** Gose or capon/arced," but 
it does not mention parseley. It only says in ge- 
neral terms, *' Take yolkes of eyeron (egges) hard 
ysodde and hew hem smale with the herbes — and 
caste therto pouder of ginger peper canell and salt 
and grapes in tyme of yereT I have met with 
another (I suppose, the true) receipt for stuffing a 
Goose in Ms. Harl. 279. It begins — " Take percely 
and swynis grece or sewet of a shepe ,and par- 
boy le hem, &c." 

Ver. 4355. soth play quade spet] As this is said 
to have been a Flemish proverb, I have inserted spel 
from Mss. Ask. 1. 2. instead of the common read- 
ing play, Spel, in Teut. is Indus, ai^' quade, or 
quaed, is malus. Sir John Harrington, in his Apo^ 
logie of Poetrie, quotes an old saying of the same 
import. Soth bourde is no bourde, 

Ver. 4375. riding — in Chepe] There were some- 
times Justs in Cheapside. HoUings. y. ii. p. 348. 
But perhaps any procession may be meant. Mss. 
Ask. 1.2. read revel. 

Ver. 4377. And til] And is added. 

Ver. 4394. they play] So Ms. C. All th6 rest 
read he. 


Ver. 4413. a louke] A receiver to a thief y Sp. Sk« 
This explanation, I believe, is a mere fancy, but I 
have nothing better to propose. 

Ver. 4421. Our Hoste saw wel] Concerning the 
time of day meant to be pointed out in the follow- 
ing lines, see the Discourse dec. § v. 

Ver. 44150. Malkins maidenhede] A common 
phrase. P. P. fol. vii. a. b. 

Ye have no more merit of masse ne of boures 
Than l^alkin of hire may^enhood, that lao maa 
Ver. 4467* But Chaucer] So Mss. C. 1. Ask* 1* 
9. Ifi the Editt. it bad been strangely corrupted into 

Ver. 4477. In youthe he made of Ceys] The 
story of Ceyx and Alcyone is related in the intro- 
duction to the poem, which w^ for some time called 
** the Dreme of Chaucer" but which* in the Mss, 
Fairf, 16. vid Bod. 638. is mor^ properly entitled 
^* the booke of the J^uchesse/' The following note^ 
which has been prefixed to it in all the later editio^s^ 
is in Ms. Fairf. in ibe hand-writing of John Stowe. 
'^ By the person of a moumiii^ Knight sitting under 
an oke is meant John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 
greqMy lainenting the d^afh (f one whorn hee e»tirelf/ 
loved, supposed to he Blanche the Duche*$eJ" I be* 
lieve John is very right iw (lis conjecture. Chaucer 
himself, in bis Leg. of Q. W. 4]i9. si^ys, that he made 
" the deth of Blaunche the Duchesse .**' and in tbe 


poem now under consideration he plainly alludes to 
her name, ver. 94S. 

'^ And faire white she hete ; 
That was my ladys name right." 
On the other hand, the Knight is represented, ver. 
455, 6*. 

" Of the age offoure and twenty yere, 
Upon his berde but litel here" — 
whereas John of Gaunt, at the death of Blanche in 
1369, was about nitie and twenty years of age. But 
this perhaps was a designed misrepresentation. 

I will just observe that the manner, in which 
Chaucer speaks of his own age at the time of this 
composition, is a confirmation of what has been sug- 
gested in the Discourse &c. n. 3, that the Canter- 
bury Tales were the work of his latest years. When 
the Dutchess Blanch died, he was one and forty ; a 
a time of life, which, I believe, a man seldom calls 
his youth, till he is advanced at least twenty years 
beyond it. 

Ver. 4481. the Seintes legende of Cupide] In 
the Editt. it is called the Legende of good women : in 
Ms. Fairf. 16. the Legendis of ix gode women. Ac- 
cording to Lydgate [Prol. to Boccace], the number 
was to have been nineteen; and perhaps the Legende 
itself affords some ground for this notion. See ver. 
183. But this number was probably neyer com- 
pleted, and the last story of Hypermnestra is seem^- 
ingly unfinished. 


In this passage the Man of Lawe omits two La- 
dies, viz. Cleopatra and Philomela, whose histories 
are in the Legende ; and he enumerates eight others, 
of whom there are no histories in the Legende, as 
we have it at present. Are we to suppose, that they 
have been lost ? 

With respect to the time of Chaucer's writing the 
Legende, see the Discourse &c. n. 3. , 

Ver. 4486. The plaint of Deianire] This reading 
is supported by several Mss. of middling authority ; 
but the better copies read Diane, and Ms. A. Syane. 
There is a nymph Cyane in Ovid [Metam. L v.], who 
weeps herself into a fountain ; but not for love. 

Ver. 451 '2. To Muses, that men clepe Pierides] 
He rather means, I think, the daughters of Pierus, 
who contended with the Muses, and were changed 
into Pies. Ovid, Metam. 1. v. 

Ver. 4515. with hawebake] So Ms. A. The other 
readings are — hawe i bake. Mss. Ask. 1. 2. — ^hawke 
bake. B, €, — ^hevy bake. B. c. 4, — ^have wee bauke. 
E. — have we bake. B. 8. HA. — hawe ybake. Ca. 2. 
— the whiche hath no lak. Ca. 1. — The reader may 
take his choice of them. 

Ver. 4534. Bet is to dien] This saying of Solo- 
mon is quoted in Rom. de la Ro. 8573. Mieux vault 
mourir que pauvres estre. 

Ver. 4617. In sterres] This passage is imitated 
from the Megacosmus of Bemardus Sylvestris, an 
eminent philosopher and poet about the middle of 


the Xllth Century. Fabric. Bibl. Med. ^tat. in v. 
Bernardus Carnotenm & Sylvestris. I will trans- 
cribe here the original lines from Ms. Bod. 1265. 
Preejacet in stellis series^ quam longior eetas 

Explicet et spatiis temporis ordo suis, 
Sceptra Phoroneiy fratrum discordia Thebis^ 

Flamma Pliaethontis, Deucalionis aqiuB, 
In stellis Codri paupertas, copia Croesi, 
Incestus Paridis, Hippolytique pudor. 
In stellis Priami speciesy audacia Tumi, 
Sensus Ulyxeus, Herculeusque vigor. 
In stellis pugil est Pollux et navita Typhis 

Et Cicero rhetor et geometra Thales. 
In stellis lepidum dictat Maro, Milo figurat, 

Fulgurat in Latia nobilitate Nero. 
Astra notat Persis, iEgyptus parturit artes, 
Grsecia docta legit, preelia Roma gerit. 
The four lines in Italics are quoted in the Margin of 
Ms. C. 1. 

Ver. 4709. Or Ilion brent] Tliere is great con- 
fusion among the Mss. in this Hne. I have made 
the best sense that I coud, without departing too far 
from them. Ms. A. reads, 

*' Or whanne Ilion brende Thebes the citee." 
which might lead one to conjecture, 

" Or whanne Philip brende Thebes the citee." 
This last phrase is French. See Froissart, v. i. c. 
225. dedans R6nes la dti et environ. 

218 ^•OTES ON Til] 

Ver. 4795. O Mars o Atyzar] So Ms. A. Other 
Mss. read, Athanr, Atayzety Attezer^ Atazir, I am 
not Astrologer enough to determine which is the 
right word. Atizar, Span, and attiser. Fa. signify 
to light a JirCf to in/lame. But whether that sense 
can hare any place here, I am doubtfiil. 

Ver. 4732. is ther non electioun] In the margin 
of Ms. C. 1 . is the following quotation. Oranes con- 
cordati sunt, quod Electiones sint debiies, nisi in 
divitibus : habent enim isti, licet debilitentur eorum 
electiones, radicem, i* nativitates eorum, quee con- 
fortat omnem planetam debilem in itinere, &c. It 
is taken from Liber Electionum by one Zael, Ms. 
Harl. 80. Bod. 1648. 

Ver. 4841. O soden wo] I shall transcribe the 
following passage from the Margin of Ms. G. 1. 
though I know not from what author it it borrowed, 
as it confirms the readings adopted in the text. Sem- 
per mundaruB latitia tristitia repentina succedit. Mun- 
dana igitur felicitas muUis amaritudmibus est retpena, 
Extrema gaudii luettis occupat, Audi ergo sahdnt 
connlium ; in die bonorutn ne immemor m malorum* 
The Editt. read. O Soudan, wo &c. 

Ver. 4858. fote-hot] HastUfy with aU esspedition. 
See Gower, Gonf. Am. fol. 816. 

And forth with all anone/ote kote 
He stale the cowe — 
See also R. R. 3637. Haut le pied, in French, has 


the same signifiQatione Gotgrave, in v. So that I 
should suspect Jwt, in our phrase, to be a corrupr, 
tion of haut, 

Ver. 5002. The following plot of the Knight 
against Constance [from this ver. to ver. 5030.], and 
also her adventure with the Steward [from ver. 5330 
to ver. 5344.], are both to be found (with some small 
variations) in a Story in the Gesta Romanorum, ch. 
101. Ms. Harl. 2270. Occleve has versified the 
whole story ; as he has another from the same col- 
lection, De Johnatha et muliere maid, ch. 54. Ibid, 
(cxx. Edit, J See an excellent Ms. of Occleve's 
works. Bib, Reg, 17 D. vi. The first poem begins, 
— '' In the Romain jestes writen is thus :" the second, 
— " Some time an Emperour prudent and wise." 

Ver, 5004. how he might quite hire while] Her 
time^ labour &c. So in the Leg. of Ariadne, v, ult. 
** the divel quite him his while,*' 

Ver. 5191. O messager] Quid turpius ebrioso, 
cui feetor in ore, tremor in corpore ; qui promit stulr 
ta, prodit Oicculta ; cui mens alienatur, f^cies trans- 
formatur ? nullum enim latet secretum ubi regnat 
ebrietas. Marg. C. 1. 

Ver. 5345. O foule lust] O extrema libidinis tur- 
pitudo, quee non solum menteip e^eminat, set etian:^ 
corpus enervat : semper secuntur dolor et poeniten-^ 
tia post, &c. Marg. C. 1. 

Ver. 5506. Som men wold sayn] See Gower, 

220 NOTLS ox THE 

Conf. Am. B. ii. fol. 35. b. 11. and the Discourse 

&C. §. XV. 

In another circumstance, which has been intro- 
duced with the same words, ver. 5429. our Author 
agrees with Gower, ihhd. fol. 35. a. 1. 

Ver. 5527. your Custance] I have added youtj 
for the sake of the metre. 

Ver. 5552. But litel while] In Marg. C. 1. A 
mane usque ad vesperam mutabitur tempus. tenent 
tympanum et gaudent ad sonum organi, &c. 

Ver. 5555. Who lived ever] Ibid. Quis unquam 
unicam diem totam in sua dilectione duxit jocun- 
dam ? quern in aliqua parte diei reatus conscientifle, 
viz. impetus iree, vel motus concupiscenti» non tur- 
bavit; quem livor, vel ardor avaritiee, vel tumor 
superbiee non vexavit, quem aliqua jactura, vel of- 
fensa, vel passio non commoverit, &c. 

Ver. 5583. I have already given my reasons for 
following the best Mss. in placing this Prologue of 
the Wife of Bathe next to the Man of Lawes Tale. 
Discourse &c. § xvi. The want of a few verses to 
connect this Prologue with the preceding Tale was 
perceived long ago ; and the defect was attempted 
to be supplied by the author of the following hues, 
which in Ms. B. are prefixed to the common Pro- 

Oure oost gan tho to loke up anon. 
Gode men, quod he, herkeneth everichone, 


As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale, 
This marchant hath itold a mery tale, 
Howe Januarie hadde a lither jape, 
His wyf put in his hood an ape. 
But hereof I wil leve off as now. 
Dame wyf of Bathe, quod he, I pray you 
Telle us a tale now nexte after this. 
Sir oost, quod she, so god my soule blis, 
As I fully therto wil consente, 
And also it is myn hole entente. 
To done yow alle disporte as that I can. 
But holde me excused ; I am a woman. 
I can not reherse as these clerkes kune. 
And riyt anon she hath hir tale bygunne. 
Experience &c. 
he same lines are in Mss. Bod, t and ^. I print 
lem here, in order to justify myself for not insert- 
ig them in the text. 

Ver. 5626. I have wedded five] After this verse, 
le six following are in Mss. C. 1. HA. C. 2. and in 
;dit. Ca. 2. 

Of which I hav6 pyked out the beste 

Bothe of here nether purs and of here cheste. 

Diverse scoles maken parfyt clerkes. 

And diverse practyk in many sondry werkes 

Maken the werkman parfyt sekirly : 

Of five husbondes scoleryng am I, 

Welcome the sixthe &c. 


If these lines are not Chaucer's, they are oeitainly 
more in his manner than the generality of the imita- 
tions of him. Perhaps he wrote them, and afterwards 
blotted them out. They come in bnt awkwardly 
here, and he has used the principal idea in uiother 
place. March. T. ver. 9301. 

Ver. 5677* I ^aunt it wel, I haye non envie, 

Though maidenhed preferre bigamie] So these 
two verses stand, without any material difference, in 
all the Mss. If they are right, we must underitand 
preferre to signify the same at ht pteferred to. Know- 
ing no example of such a construction, I have ven- 
tured at an alteration of the text. It might have 
been as well, perhaps, to have left the first line un- 
touched, and to have corrected the second only 

Though maidenhed he prefer^d to big^amie* 

Ver. 5681. a lord in his houshold] See 2 Tim. 
ii. 90. 

Ver. 5764. writeth Ptholomee] In the M^gin of 
Ms. C. 1 . is the following quotation : Qui per aUos 
nan corrigitur, aUi per ipgum corrigentur. But I can- 
not find any such passage in the Almageste. I sus- 
pect that the Wife of Bathes copy of Ptolemy was 
very different from any that I have been able to meet 
with. See another quotation from him, ver. 7906. 
Ver. 5799. The bacOA-^^t Doamow] See Blount's 
Ant. Tenures, p. 16^. This whimsical institution 


was not peculiar to Dunmow. There was the same 
in Breta^e. ** A TAbbaie Sainct Melaine, pr^s 
RenneSy y a, plus de six cens ans sonty un cost^ de 
lard encore tout frais et non corroinpu ; et neant- 
moins vou6 et ordonn6 aux premiers, qui par an et 
jour ensemble mariez ont vescu sans debat, gronde- 
ment, et sans s'en repentir/* Conies d*Eutrapy t. ii. 
p, 161. 

Ver. 5810. Sweren and lien] Rom, de la R. ver. 

Car plus hardiment que nulz homs 
Certainement jurent et mentent. 

Ver. 5811. (I say not this] This parenthesis seems 
to be rather belonging to Chancer himself than to 
the Wife of Bathe. 

Ver. 5814. Shal beren hem on honde] Shal make 
them believe falsely, the cow is wood. The latter 
words may either signify that the cow is mad, or 
made of tbood. Which of the two is the preferable 
interpretation, it will be safest not to determine, 
till we can discover the old story to which this 
phrai^e seems to be a proretbial allusion. 

Ver. 5817. Sire olde Kaynard] Cagnard, or Gaig- 
nardy was a French term of reproach, which seems 
to have been originally derived from Canis. Menage, 
in V. In the following speech it would be endless 
to produce all Chaucer's imitations. The beginning 
is from the fragment of Theophrastus, quoted by 5#. 


Jerome^ c. Jovin. I. i. and by John of SaUshurif^ 
Polycrat. 1. viii. c. xi. See also Rom. de la R. ver. 
8967. et suiv. 

Ver. 588*^. chamberere] A chamber-maid, Fr. 
See 8695. 8853. 

Son varlet et sa chamberiere, 

Aussi sa seur et sa nourrice 


£t sa mere, si moult n'est nice. 
Rom. dela R, 14480. 

Ver. 5923. in the apostles name] See 1 Tim. 
ii. 9. 

Ver. 6042. Metellius] This story is told by Pliay, 
Nat. Hist. 1. xiv. c. 13. of one Mecenius ; but Chau- 
cer probably followed Valerius Maximus, 1. vi. c. 3. 
Ver. 6049. In woman vinolent] Rom. de la R. 

Car puisque femme est enyvree 
El n'a point en soy de deffence. — 
Ver. 6065. Seint Joce] or Josse, Sanctus Judocus, 
was a Saint of Pontliieu. Vocab. Hagiol. prefixed to 
Menage, Etymol. Fr, 

Ver. 6137. visitations] Rom de la R. 12492. 
Souvent voise k la mere Eglise, 
Et face visitations 
Aux nopces, aux processions, 
Aux jeux, aux festes, aux caroles. — 
Ver. 6151. bobance] Boasting, pride. Fk. en or- 
gueil et en bobans. Froissart, v. iv. c. 70. In the 


Editt. it is hostance. The thought in the next lines 
is taken from R<mi. de la R. 13914. 

Moult a souris povre recours, 

Et met en grand peril la druge, 

Qui n'a qu'ung partuys k refuge. 
Ver. 6191 — 4. These four lines are wanting in 
Mss. A. Ask. 1. 2. and several others. And so are 
the eight lines from ver. 6201. to ver. 6208. incl. 
They certainly might very well be spared. 

Ver. 6216. with his fist] Ms. A. reads — on the 
lyste — and so does Ed. Ca. 2. with the addition of 
(what was at first a marginal gloss) on the Cheke. 
In support of this reading it may be observed, that 
Sir Thomas More, among many Chaucerian phrases, 
has this, in his Merry Jest of a Sergeant &c. 

And with his fist 

Upon the lyst 
He gave him such a blow. — 
Ver. 6227. open-heded] This is literally from Val. 
Max. 1. vi. c. 3. uxorem dimisit, quod eam capite 
uperto foris versatam cognoverat. He gives the rea- 
son of this severity. Lex enim tibi meos tantum 
preefinit oculos, quibus formam tuam approbes. 
His decoris instrumenta compara : his esto spe- 
ciosa &c. 

Ver. 6230. a sommer-game] This expression, I spp- 
pose, took its rise from the Summer being the usual 
season for Games. It is used in P. P. fol. xxvii. 



I have lever here an harlotry, or a Somers game— 
This story is also from Val. Max. 1. vi. c. S. P, 
Sempronius Sophus — conjugem repudii noti afiecit, 
nihil aliud quam se ignorante ludos ausam spectare. 

Ver. 6253. Valerie and Theophrast] Some ac- 
count has been given of these two treatises in the 
Discourse &c. n. 19. As to the rest of the contents 
of this volume, Hieronymus contra Jovinianufn, and 
Tertullian de Pallio are sufficiently known ; and so 
are the Letters of Eloisa and Abelard, the Parables 
of Solomon, and Ovid's Art of Love. I know of bo 
Trotula^ but one, whose book Curandarum tegrHudi' 
num muliebrium ante^ in, et post partum,- is printed 
int. Medicos antiques, Ven. 1547. What is meant 
by Crisippus I cannot guess. 

Ver. 6257. Which book was ther] I have here 
departed from the Mss. which all read,— In which 
book ther was eke. — Perhaps, however, it might be 
sufficient to put a full stop after Jovinianv 

Ver. 6284. exaltation] In the old Astrology, a 
Planet was said to be in its Exaltation, when it was 
in that sign of the Zodiac, in which it was supposed 
to exert its strongest influence. The opposite siga 
was called its Dejection, as in that it was supposed 
to be weakest. To take the instance in the text, 
the Exaltation of Venus was in Pisces [See also 
ver. 10687.], and her dejection of course in Virgo. 
But in Virgo was the Exaltatiod of Mercury. 



She is the welthe and the rysynge 
The lust the joy and the lykynge 
Unto Mercury. — 
Gower, Conf. Am. 1. vii. fol. 147. So in ver. 10098. 
Cancer is called Jwes exaltation, 

Ver. 6303. Tho redde he] Most of the following 
instances are mentioned in the Epistola Valerii ad 
Rufinum de non diicendd uxore,. See also Rom de la 
R. 9140. 9615. et suiv. 

Ver. 6329. Of Lima— and of Lucie] In the 
Epistola Valerii &c. Ms. Reg. 12. D. iii. the story is 
told thus : Luna virum suum interfecit quern nimis 
odivit: Lucilia suum quem nimis amavit. Ilia 
sponte miscuit aconita : hec decepta furorem pro- 
pinavit pro amoris poculo. Lima and Luna in many 
Mss. are only distinguishable by a small stroke over 
the i, which may be eanly overlooked where it is, 
and supposed where it is not. 

Ver. 6339. Latumeus] In Mss. Ask. 1. 2. it is 
Latynius : In the Epistola Valerii just cited, Pavo- 
rinus flens ait Arrio — . 

Ver< 6356. mo proverbes] For the following apho- 
risms see Prov. xxi. 9. 19. and xi. 22. The obser- 
vation in ver. 6364: ii» in Herodotus. B. i. p. 5. Ed. 

Ver. 6414; the Sompnour herd the Frere gule] Thfe 
same word occurs below, ver. 6918. " and let the 
Sompnour galeJ^ In both places H seems to be u^ed 


metaphorically. GakMy Sax. signifies canere. It 
is used literally in the Court of LoYe, ver. 1357. 
where the Nightingale is said — to crie and gak. 
Hence its name, Nightegale, or Nightengale. In the 
Island, at gala is ululare. GaUimore exclamare -, asd 
Hanagal'j Gallicinium. Gudm. And. Lex. Island. 
Ver 6439. King Artour] I hope that Chaucer, by 
placing his Elf-quene in the dayes of King Jrtow, 
did not mean to intimate that the two monarchies 
were equally fabulous and visionary. Master fface 
has judged more candidly of the exploits of oar 
British hero. 

Ne tut mensonge, ne tut veir ; 

Ne tut folic, ne tut saveir. 

Tant unt li conteor cont^, 

£ li fableor tant fabl6. 

Pur les contes enbelecer, 

Ke tut unt fait fable sembler. 

Le Brut Ms. Cotton. Vitell. A. t 
Ver. 6441. faerie] Faerie. Fr. from Fie, the Freoch 
name for those fantastical beings which in the Gothic 
languages are called Alfs^ or Eloes. The corres- 
ponding names to Fie, in the other Romance dia- 
lects, are Fata, Ital. and Hada, Spak. so that it 
is probable, that all three are derived from the Lat. 
Fatum, which in the barbarous ages was corrupted 
into Fatus and Fata, See Menc^^ in v. Fee. Du 
Cange, in v. Fadus. 



. Our system of Faerie would have been much more 
complete, if all our ancient writers had taken the 
same laudable pains to inform us upon that head, 
that Gervase of Tilbery has done. Ot. Imp. Dec, 
iii. c. 61, 9,. He mentions two species of Daemons in 
England, which I do not recollect to have met with 
in any other author. The first are those, quos 
Gain NeptunoSy Angli Portunos nominant. Of the 
others he says — JE*^ in Anglid quoddam damonum 
genus, quod suo idiomate Grant nominant, adinstar 
pulli equini anniculi, tibiis erectum, oculis scintillan- 
tibus &c. 

This ladt seems to have been a Daemon sui generis, 
but the Portunus appears to have resembled the 
Gobelin, as described by Orderic. Vital. 1. v. p. 566. 
Speaking of the miracles of St. Taurinus at Evreux 
in Normandy, he says — Daemon enim, quern de 
Dianse phano expulit, adhuc in esldem urbe degit, 
et in variis frequenter formis apparens neminem 
leedit. Hunc vulgus Gobelinum appellat, et per 
merita Sancti Taurini ab human^ leesione coercitum 
usque hodie affirmat. 

In the same manner Gervase says of the Portuni. 
Id illis insitum est, ut obsequi possint et obesse non 
possint. He adds indeed an exception. Verum uni- 
cum quasi modulum nocendi habent. Cum enim 
inter ambiguas noctis tenebras Angli solitarii quan- 
doque equitant, Portunus nonnunquam invisus equi- 


tanti se copulat, et cum diutius comitatur euntemt 
tandem loris arreptis equum in lutum ad mannm 
diicit) in quo dum infixus Tolutatur, Portuntu eriens 
cachinnumfacity et sic hujuscemodi ludibrio huma- 
nam simplicitatem deridet. — ^This is exactly such a 
prank as our Hob (or HopJ goblin was used to play. 
See the Midsummer Night's Dream. A. 2. S. 1. and 
Drayton's Nymphidia*. 

It should be observed, that the Porluiti (according 
to Gervase) were of the true Faery size, 5to<urd/i»- 
siUif dimidium poUicis non habeutes. But then in- 
deed they were senili vultu, facie corrugatd. In Dee. 
i. c. 18. he describes another species of hannless 
Daemons, called Folleti> Esprits Follets* F&. Follet* 
ti. Ital. 

The Incubus, mentioned below, ver. 6462. was a 
Faery of not quite so harmless a nature. He sue* 
ceeded to the ancient Fauni, and like them was wp" 
posed to inflict that oppression, which goes under 
the name of the EphialteSy or Night-mare, Plinj 
calls the Ephialtes Faunorum in quiete Vn/dMhria, N. 
H. 1. 25. X. The Incubus however, as Chaucer in^ 

* I shall here correct a mistake of my dwn m the IMaooiirse &o. 
n. S8. I have supposed that Shakespeare mi^t have followed 
Drayton in his Faery system. I have since observed^ that Ikm 
Q,uixot (which was not published till 1605) is cited in the Nipn- 
phidia, whereas we have an Edition of the Midsummer NigW* 
Dream in 1600. So that Drayton undoubtedly followed Shake- 


sinuates, exerted bis powers for love as well as for 
hate, Gervas. Tilber. Dec. i. c. 17- Vidimus quos- 
dam Deemones tanto Zelo mulieres amare quod ad 
inaudita prorumpunt ludibria, et cum ad concubi- 
tum earum accedunt mird mole eas opprimunt^ nee 
ab aliis videntur. 

Ver. 6457* undermeles] Tbe undermele, i. e. 
undern-mele, was the dinner of our ancestors. See 
the note on ver. 8136. 

. Ver. 6466. came riding /ro river \ Or^ fro the ri- 
ver, as it is in some Mss. It means /rom hdwking 
at water-fowl, Froissart, v. i. c 140. Le Comte de 
Flandres estoit tousjours en riviere — un jour advint 
qu'il alia voUer en la riviere — et getta son Faucon- 
nier un faucon apres le heron, et le Comte aussi un. 
— So in c. 210. He says, that Edward III had ¥nth 
him in his army — trente fauconniers k cheval, char- 
ges d'oiseaux, et beiji soixante couples de forts 
diiens et autant de levriers : dont il alloit, chacun 
jour, ou en chace ou en riviere, ainsi que il luy plai- 
soit. Sire Thopas is described as following this 
knightly sport, ver. 13665. 

He coude hunte at the wilde dere, 

And ride on hauking/or the rivere 

With grey goshauk on honde. 

Ver. 6710. Ful selde up riseth] Dante, Purg, vii. 


Rade volte risurge per li rami 


L'humana probitate : et questo vuole 
Quel die la da, perche da se si chiami. 
Vcr. 6740. For gentillesse] A great deal of this 
reasoning is copied from Boethius de Consol. 1. iii. 
Pr. 6. See also R. R. 2180, & seq. 
For villanic maketh villeine, 
And by his dedes a chorle is seine, &c. 
Ver. 6777. Poverteis hateful good] In this com- 
mendation of Poverty, our author seems plainly to 
have had in view the following passage of a fieibu- 
Iqus conference between the Emperour Adrian and 
Secundus the philosopher, reported by Vincent of 
Beauvais, Spec. Histor, 1. x. c. 71- Quid est Pauper- 
tas ? Odibile bonum ; sanitatis mater ; remotio cura- 
rum ; sapientia repertrix ; pegotium sine damno; 
possessio absque calumnia ; sine sollicitudine felicitas. 
What Vincent has there published appears to have 
been extracted from a larger collection of Gnome 
under the name of Secundus, which are still extant 
in Greek and Latin. See Fabric. Bib. Gr. 1. vi. c. 
X. and Ms. Harl, 399. The author of Pierce Plough- 
man has quoted and paraphrased the same passage^ 
fol. 75. 

Ver. 6781. elenge] Strange; probably from the 
old Fr. esloingn^. So in the Cuckow and Nightin- 
gale, ver. 115. 

Thy songes ben so elenge in good fay. 
And in P. P. fol. S. b. 


Where the cat is a kiten, the court is full elenge. 
See also fol. 46. b. and Gloss, in .v. Elenge. 

Ver. 6797. For filthe and elde also, so] Though 
none of the Mss. that I have seen, authorize the in- 
sertion of the second so, it seems absolutely neces- 

Ver. 6858. auctoritees] Auctoritas was the usual 
word for what we call a text of Scripture. Ms. Harl. 
106. 10. Expositio auctoritatis, Ma jus gaudium su- 
per uno peccatore. Ibid. 21. Expositio auctoritatis^ 
Stetit populus de longe &c. 

Ver. 6931. the nale] the Ale-house, P. P. fol. 32. b. 
And than satten some and songe at the nale. 
Skinner supposes it to be a corruption of inn-ale^ 
which is not impossible. See the Gloss, in v. Nale. 

Ver. 6959. an olde ribibe] He calls her below, 
ver. 7155. an olde rebekke. They were both names 
for the same musical instrument. See Menage,^ in 
V. Rebec, Ribeba, in the Decameron, ix. 5. is ren- 
dered by Ma^on, the old French translator, Rebec 
and Guiterne. Chaucer uses also the diminutive 
Ribible, ver. 3331. 4395. How this instrument came 
to be put for an old woman, I cannot guess, unless 
perhaps from its shrillness. An old writer, quoted 
by Du Cange, in v. Baudosa, has the following 
lines in his description of a Concert 
Quidam ribeccam arcuabant 
Muliebrem vocem confingetites. 


Ver. 6990. wariangles] I have DOthing to say 
either in refutation or support of Mr. Speght's ex- 
planation of this word — " A kind of birds fiill of 
noise, and very ravenons, preying upon others, 
which when they have taken > they use to hang upon 
a thome or pricke, and teare them in peeces^and 
devour them. And the common opinion is, that the 
thorne, whereupon they thus fasten them and eat 
them, is afterward poisonsome. In Staffordshire 
and Shropshire the name is common." — except that 
Cotgrave, in his Fr. Diet, explains Ameat to sig- 
nify The ravenous bird called a Shrike, hynmurder, 
Wariangle. See Gloss in v. Wabiangxes. 

Ver. 7018. to hevy or to hote] We have iieariy 
the same expression in Froissart, v. i. c. ^9. ne 
lassoient riens k prendre, s'il n'estoit trap chaudy 
trop froid, ou trtp pesant. 

Ver. 7092. As to the Phitonesse did Samvel] 
So Ms. A. The Editt. read, 

As the Phitonesse did to Samuel-*- . ^ > 

which is certainly wrong* See 1 Sam. xxviii. Our 
author uses PMtonesse ior Pythonexe. H. F. iii. 171. 
And so does Gower, Conf, AmarU* fol. 140. 
The Phitonesse in Samary. — 

Ver. 7145. Hard] A common app^ative for a 
horse, from its gre^ colour, as bayard was from iay. 
[See before, ver. 4113.] P. P. fol. 93. 

He lyght downe of liarde and ladde him in his 


Bp. Douglas, in -his Virgil, usually puts liart for al- 
ius ^ incanus, &c. 

Ver. 716'4. thou olde very trate] So Msi. C. J. 
Ask. 1. 2. and Ed. Ca. 2. The later Editt. read vi- 
titrate in one word. We may suppose trate to be 
used for trot, a common term for an old woman. 
Keysler [Antiq. Sept. p. 503.] refers it to the same 
original with the German Drud, or Drut ; Saga. 

Ver. 7^69. And now hath Sathanas, saith he] So 
Mss. C. 1. Ask. 1.2. I have put these two lines in 
a parenthesis, as he refers to the Narrator, the 

Ver. 727.7. A twenty thousand] I have added A 
for the sake of the verse. Chaucer frequently pre- 
fixes it to Nouns of number. See ver. 10697* - 
And up they risen, wel a ten or twelve. 

Ver. 7299. To trentals] Un trentel, Fr. was a 
service, of thirty Masses, which were usually cele- 
brated upon as many different days, for the dead. 
Du Cange, ip v. Trentale. 
. Ver.7387. Askaunce that he wolde forhempreye] 
The Glossary interprets ascaunce to mean 4ukew, 
aside, sideways ; in a side view ; upon what authority 
I know not. It will be better to examine the other 
passages in which the same word occurs, before we 
determine the sense of it. See ver. 16306. 

Ascaunce that craft is so light to lere. 
Tro. i. 285. 


Ascaunce, lo ! is this not wisely spoken ? 
Ibid. 292. 

Ascaunce, what, may I not stonden here ? 
Lydg. Trag. fol. 136. b. 

Ascaunce I am of maners most chaungeable. 
In the first and last instance, as well as in the 
text, ascaunce seems to signify simply as if; quasi. 
In the two others it signifies a little more ; as if U> 
say. This latter signification may be clearly es- 
tablished from the third line, which in the Italian 
original [Filostrato di Boccaccio, 1. i.] stands thus : 

Quasi dicesse, e no ci si puo stare ? 
So that ascaunce is there equivalent to quasi dicesse 
in Italian. 

As to the Etymology of this word I must confess 
myself more at a loss. I observe however that one 
of a similar form in the Teutonic has a similar sig- 
nification. Als-kacks ; Quasi, quasi vero, KiliBii. Our 
as is the same with als. Teut. and Sax. It is only 
a further corruption of al so. Perhaps therefore 
ascaunce may have been originally als-kansse. Kansse 
in Teut. in Chance Fa. and £ng. 

I will just add, that this very rare phrase was ailso 
used, as I suspect, by the Author of the Continua- 
tion of the Canterbury Tales, first printed by Mr. 
Urry. Prol. ver. 361. 

And al ascaunce she loved him wel, she toke 
him by the swere. 
It is printed a staunce. 


Ver. 7329. A Goddes kichel] " It was called a 
Goddes kichel, because Godfathers and Godmothers 
used commonly to give one of them to their God- 
children, when they asked blessing." Sp. And so 
we are to suppose a Goddes halfpeny, in ver. 7331, 
was called for the same reason, &c. But this is all 
gratis dictum, I believe. The phrase is French, and 
the true meaning of it is explained by M. de la 
Monnoye in a note upon the Contes de B. D. Periers, 
t. ii. p. 107. Belle serrure de Dieu] Expression du 
petit peuple, qui raporte pieusement tout k Dieu. — 
Rien n'est plus commun dans la bouche des bonnes 
vieilles, que ces especes d'Hebraismes : II m*en coute 
un hel ecu de Dieu ; 11 ne me reste que ce pauvre en- 
fant de Dieu ; Donez moi une henite uumdne de Dieu. 

Ver. 7442. fifty yere] See Du Cange, in v. Sem- 
PECTiE. Peculiar honours and immunities were 
granted by the Rule of St. Benedict to those Monks, 
qui quinquaginta annos in ordine exegerant, quos an- 
num juhiUeum exegisse vulgo dicimus. It is probable 
that some similar regulation obtained in the other 

V^r. 7488. mendiants] In Ms. A. it is mendinants, 
both here and below, ver. 7494. which reading, 
though not agreeable to analogy, is perhaps the true 
one, as I find the word constantly so spelled in the 
Stat. 12 R. IL c. 7, 8, 9, 10. 

Ver. 7511. Jovinian] Against whom St. Jerome 

$38 KOTl;S ON THE 

wrote ; or, perhaps, the supposed Emperour of that 
name in the Gesta Romanorum, c. lix. whose story 
was worked up into a Morality , under the title oi 
Vorgueil et prhomption de VEmpereur Joviniaii'^k 
19 personages. It was printed at Lions, 1581. 8yo. 
sur une vieille copie. Du Verdier, in v. JoviiriEir. 
The same story is told of a Robert King of Sicilyf ia 
an old English poem. M. S. Harl. 1701. Mr. War- 
ton has given large extracts from an Oxford MS. as 
I suppose, of the same poem. Hist, of Eng. Poetry 
Vol. i. p. 184. 

Ver. 7514. of ful gret reverence] The Editt. 
have changed this to ful litel ; but the reading of 
the Mss. may stand, if it be uAderstood ironically* 

Ver. 7600. As saith Senek] This story is told by 
Seneca, de Ird, 1. i. c. xvi. of Cn. Piso. It is also 
told of an Emperour Eraclius, Gtita Romanorimf 
cap. cxi. 

Ver. 7625. irons Gambyses] This story is also in 
Seneca, 1. iii. c. xiv. It differs a little from one in 
Herodotus, 1. iit. 

Ver. 7657. Singeth Placebo] The allusion is to an 
Antiiem in the Romish church, from Psalm cxvi. 9. 
which in the Vulgate stands thus : PUicebo Domino 
in regione vitorum. Hence the complacent brother 
in the Mar chants Tale is called Placebo, 

Ver. 7662. the river of Giseh] It is called Gyiwies 
in Seneca, lib. cit. c. xxi. and in Herodotus, 1. i. 


Ver. 7666. That wimmen] So the best Mss. agrea- 
bly to the authors just iquoted.' The Editt. have- — 
That men might ride dnd wade &c. 
Sir J. Mandevile tell& the story of the Euphrates ; 
^'because that he had sworn, that he sholde putte 
the Tyvefe in suche poynt, that a womtnan myghte 
wel passe there, withouten castynge of hire clothes.^ 
pi 49; 

Ver. 7710. thfr letter of our selct] There is a letter 
of this kind in Stevens, Supp, to Dugd, vol. ii. App. 
p. 370. Fratres Pnedicatores, Warwicc. admittunt 
Thomam^ Cannings et uxorem ejus Agnetem ad par- 
HcipdtUme^li omnium bonorum operum tonventus ejus- 
dem* It is under seal of the Prior, 4 Non. Octob. 
An. Dom. 1347. 

Ver. 7740. The remainder of this tale is omitted 
in Mss. B. G. and Bod. t. and instead of it they 
give us the following lam£ and impotent conclusion. 
He ne had nozt eliis for his sermon 
To part among his brethren when he cam home. 
And thus is this tale idon. 
For we were almost att the toun. 
I only mention this to shew what liberties some 
Copyists have taken with our author. 

Ver. 7879. Were newe spoused] It has been ob- 
served in n. upon ver. 812. that Chaucer frequently 
omits the governing Pronoun before his Verbs. The 
instances there cited were of Personal Pronouns. 


In this line and some others, which I shall point out 
here, the Relatives who or which are omitted in the 
same manner. Seever. 7411. 1303.5. 16049. 

Ver. 7910. Lynyan] or Linian, The person meant 
was an eminent Lawyer, and made a great noise (as 
we say) in his time. His name of late has been so 
little known, that I believe nobody has been angry 
with the Editt. for calling him Livian. There is 
some account of him in Panzirolus, de CL Leg. In- 
terpret i. iii. c. XXV. Joannes, a Ligncmo, agri Me- 
diolanensis vico, oriundus, et ob id Lignanus dictus 
&c. One of his works entitled, " Tractatus de BeU 
lo, is extant in Ms. Reg. 13. B. ix« He compiled it 
at Bologna in the year 1360. 

He was not however a mere Lawyer. Chaucer 
speaks of him as excelling also in Philosophie, and 
so does his epitaph, ap. Panzirol. 1. c. 

Gloria Lignani, titulo decoratus utroque, 

Legibus et sacro Canone dives erat, 

Alter Aristoteles, Hippocras erat et Ptolomse- 

us — 

The only specimen of his Philosophy tjiat I have 

met with is in Ms. HarL 1006. It is an Astrological 

work, entitled, " Conclusiones Judicii composite per 

Domnum Johannen de Lyviano (1. Lyniano) super 

coronacione Domni Urbani Pape VI. A. D. 1378. 

XVIII April, &c. cum Diagrammate." He also sup- 


ported the election of Urban as a Lawyer. Panzi- 
rol. 1. c. et Annal. Eccles. a Raynaldo, torn xvii. 
He must tberfore have lived at least to 1378, though 
in the printed epitaph he is said to have died in 
1368, XVI Febr. 

Ver. 7927. To Emelie ward] One of the regions 
of Italy was called Emilia, from the Via Mmiliay 
which crossed it from Placentia to Rimini. Placen- 
tia stood upon the Po. Pitisc. Lex. Ant. Rom. in 
V. Via Emilia. Petrarch's description of this 
part of the course of the Po is a little different. He 
speaks of it as dividing the ^milian and Flaminian 
regions from YemcQ-^Mmiliam atque Flaminiam 
Venetiamque discriminans. But our Author's Emilie 
is plainly taken from him. 

As the following Tale is almost wholely translated 
from Petrarch [See the Discourse &c. § xx.], it 
would be endless to cite particular passages from 
the original, especially as it is printed in all the 
Editions of Petrarch's works. It is there entitled 
De obedientid etfde uxorid Mythologia. 

Ver. 8136. The time of underne] The Glossary 
explains this rightly to mean the third hour of the 
day, or nine of the clock. In ver. .8857, where this 
word is used again, the original has — hora tertia. 
In this place it has — hora prandii. From whence 
we may collect that in Chaucer's time the third hour, 
or underne, -wasi the usual hour of dinner. 


242 NOTES on THE 

I have nev€S met with any Etymology of this 
word undemCf hat the following passage might lead 
one to suspect that it had some reference to under- 
noon. '^ in the town-book belonging to the Cor- 
poration of Stanford, 28 E. IV. it is ordeyned, that 
no person opyn ther sack, or set ther com to sale 
afore Hour of Ten of the Bell, or els the Undemone 
Bell be rongyn/' Peck's Desid. Cur. vol. i. B. vi. p. 
36. In the Islandic Diet. Ondveme^ \n readered 

Ver. 8258. ful of nouches] The commcm reading 
is (mches ; but I have retained the reading of the 
bent Mss. as it may possibly assist somebodyto dis- 
cover the meaning of the word. T observe too that 
it is so written in the Inventory of the effects of 
Henry v.. Rot. Pari. 2. H. VF. n. 31. " Item 6 Bro- 
cbes et nouches d'or gamiz de divers gamades pois 
31? d'or pris 35*. 

Ver. 8466. of Pavie] Wfaeti the text of this tale 
was printed, I had not sufficiently adverted' to the 
reading of the best Mss. which is uniformlyr' Pmidl^. 
I have little doubt that it should be Panik both here 
and belowy. ver. 8640. 8814. as iff Pietrarch the Mar^ 
quisses sister is said to be married to. the Count de 
Panico, In Boccace it is de Panaga, 

Ver. 8614. his message] His messenger. See be- 
low, ver. 8823. Message was commonly used for 
Messager by the French Poets. Du Cange, in v. 


Ver. 8915, as ye han do mo] For, me. This is 
one of the most licentious corruptions of Ortho- 
graphy, that I remember to have observed in Chau- 
cer. All that can be said in excuse of him is, that 
the old Poets of other countries have not been more 
scrupulous. Quadrio has a long chapter [L. n. 
Dist. iv. cap. iv.] upon the Licences taken by the 
Italian Poets, and especially Dante (the most li- 
centious, as he says, of them all) 'f&r the sake of 
Rime. As long a chapter might easily be filled with 
the irregularities which the old French Poets com- 
mitted for the same reason. It should seem, that, 
while Orthography was so variable, as it was itk all 
the living European languages before the invention 
of Printing, the Poets thought it generally advisea- 
ble to sacrifice propriety of Spelling to exactness of 
Riming. Of the former offence there were but few 
judges; the latter was obvious to the eye of every 

Ver. 9064. Lest Chichevache] This excellent 
reading is restored upon the authority of the be^t 
Mss. instead of the common one, Chechiface. The 
allusion is to the subject of an old Ballad, which is 
still preserved in Ms. Harl. 2251. fol. 270. b. It is 
a kind of Pageant, in which two Beasts are intro- 
duced, called Bycorne and Chichevache. The first 
is supposed to feed upon obedient husbands, and the 
other upon patient wives ; and the humour of the 



piece consists in representing Bicome as pampered 
with a superfluity of food, and Chichevache as half 

In Stowe's Catalogue of Lyd gate's works, at the 
end of Speght's Edit, of Chaucer, there is one en- 
titled " Of two monstrous beasts Bicorne and Chiche- 
facheJ* It is not improbable that Lydgate trans- 
lated the Ballad now extant from some older French 
Poem, to which Chaucer alludes. The name of 
Chichevache is French ;Vacca parca. 

Ver. 9080. aventaille] The forepart of the armour. 
Sk. H« deduces it from avant. But ventaille was 
the common name for that aperture in a close hel- 
met through which the wearer was to breathe [Ni- 
cot, in v.] ; so that perhaps aventaille meant ori- 
ginally an helmet with such an aperture ; un heaume 
d ventaille, 

Ver. 9088. and wringe, and waille] Beside the 
Mss. C. 1. Ask. 1. 2. and others, we have the au- 
thority of both Caxton's Editt. for concluding the 
Clerkes Tale in this manner. I say nothing of the 
two Editt. by Pynson^ as they are mere copies of 
Caxton's second. But I must not conceal a cir- 
cumstance, which seems to contradict the supposi- 
tion that the Marchant*s Prologue followed inune- 
diately. In those same Mss. the following Stanza 
is interposed. 

This worthy Clerk whan ended was his tale, 


Cure Hoste saide and swore by cockes bones, 
Me were lever than a barrel of ale 
My wif at home had herd this legend ones : 
This is a gentil tale for the nones, 
As to my puq^os, wiste ye my wille, 
But thing that wol not be, let it be stille. 
Whatever may be thought of the genuineness of 
these lines, they can at best, in my opinion, be con- 
sidered as a fragment of an unfinished Prologue^ 
which Chaucer might once have intended to place 
at the end of the Ckrkes tale. When he determined 
to connect that tale with the Marchanfs in another 
manner, he may be supposed, notwithstanding, to 
have left this Stanza for the present uncancelled in 
his Ms. He has made use of the thought, and 
some of the lines, in the Prologue which connects 
the Monkes Tale with Melibee, ver. 13895—13900. 
The two additional Stanzas,which were first printed 
iA Ed. Urr. from Ms. F. [H. 1. in Urry's List], and 
which serve to introduce the Frankeleins tale next 
to the Clerkes, are evidently, I think, spurious. They 
are not found, as I recollect, in any Ms. except that 
cited by Mr. Urry and Ms. B. If these two Mss. 
were of much greater age and authority than they 
really are, they would weigh but little in opposition 
to the number and character of those Mss. in which 
these Stanzas are wanting, and in which the Mar- 
chanfs tale stands next to the Clerkes. 

246 K0TE8 ON THE 

Another proof of the spuriousness of these Stanzas 
is> that they are almost entirely made up of Unes 
taken from the Prologue, which in this Editibn, up- 
on the authority of the best Miss, is prefixed to the 
Squieres Tsle. See below, ver. 10301. 

Ver. 9172. Ne take no wit] "What follows to ver. 
9180 incl. is taken from the Liber aureohu Tkeo- 
phrasii de nuptUs, as quoted by Hieronymus corUra 
Joviniofium, and from thence by John of Salisbury, 
Polycrat. 1. viii. c xi. Qttod si propter dispensatumem 
domusy et languorU solatioy et fotgam soUtudiniSf da- 
cuntur uxareSf multo melius dispensat servus JideUst 
&c. Assidere autem agrotanti vmgis pouunt •amki 
€t vemukB henefims ohligati quam Ula qua nobis tm- 
putet lacrymas, suas, &c. 

Ver* 9180. many a day] After this yerse in the 
common Editt. are these two. 

And if thou take to thee a wife untnew 
Full oftentime it shall thee sore rew. 
In Mss. A; C. and B. a. they stand thus — 
And if thou take a wif be wel ywar 
Of on /[fi'n*^ whiche I declare ne dar. 
In Mss. C. 1. HA. D. thus— 

And if thou take a wif of heye lytfage 
She shal be hauteyn and of gret costage. 
In Ms. B. 8. Uius— 

And if thou take a wif in thin age' dide 
Ful lightly mayst thou be a cokeweld. 


[n Ms8. Ask. 1. 2. E. H. B. B. N c. and both Cax- 
ton's Editt. they are entirely omitted, and so I be- 
lieve they should be. If any one of these couplets 
should be allowed to be from the hand of Chaucer^ 
it can only be considered as the opening of a new 
argument, which the author, for some reason or 
other, immediately abandoned, and consequently 
KTOuld have cancelled, if he had lived to publish his 

Ver. 9236. Lo how that Jacob] The same in- 
stances are quoted in Melibeusy p. 256. 

Ver. 9250. As saith Senek] In Marg. C. I. Sicut 
lihil est superius benignS, conjuge, ita nihil est 
^nidelius infesta muliere. Seneca. 

Ver. 9251. as Caton Ut] i. e.biddeth. See the n. 
3n ver. 187. The line referred to is quoted in Marg. 
D. 1. 

Uxori6 linguam, si frugi e8t,ferre memento, 
[t is in L. iii. Dist. 25.- 

Ver. 9259. If thou lovest thyself] ^e allusion is 
bo Ephes. v. 28. He that loveth his wife, loveth him- 
self. The Mss. read — If thou loVest thyself thou 
lovest thy wif — which, I think, is certainly" wrong. 
[ Have printed, from conjecture only — Idve thou thy 
wif. But upon reconsidering the passage, I think 
it may be brought still nearer to the Apostles doc- 
trine by writing — ^Thou lovest thyself, ff thou lovest 
thy wif, ' 


Ver. 9298. Wades bote] Upon this Mr. Speght re- 
marks, as follows : ** Concerning Wade and his bote 
called Guingelot, as also his straunge exploits in the 
same, because the matter is long and fabulous, I 
passe it over." — Tantamne rem tarn negUgenter ? Mr- 
Speght probably did not foresee, that Posterity 
would be as much obliged to him for a little of this 
fabulous matter concerning Wade and his hote^ as 
for the gravest of his annotations. The story of Wok 
is mentioned again by our author in his Troilus, iii- 

He songe, she playde, he tolde a tale of Wade. 
It is there put proverbially for any romantic history ; 
but the allusion in the present passage to Wades 
bote can hardly be explained, without a more parti- 
cular knowledge of his adventures, than we are now 
likely ever to attain. 

Ver. 9348. disputison] Disputation. So ver. 11202. 
15244. See Gower, Conf Am, fol. 15. b. 

In great desputeson they were, 
and fol.. 150. b. 151. b. 

Ver. 9409. A chidester] So Ms. A. See the note 
on ver. 2019. 

Ver. 9410. a man is wood] In Ms. A. mannishewed; 
in C. 1. mannish ivood, 

Ver. 9594. Ne he Theodomas] This person is 
mentioned again as a famous trumpeter in the H. of 
F. iii. 156. but upon what authority I really do not 


know. I should suspect that our author met with 
him, and the anecdote filluded to, in some Romantic 
History of Thebes. 

He is prefixed to proper names emphatically, ac- 
cording to the Saxon usage. See before, ver. 9242, 
him Holofernes; ver. 9247. him Mardochee: and 
below, ver. 9608. 

Of hire Philologie and him Mercury. 

Ver. 9652. As that she bare it] As this line is not 
only in all the best Mss. but also in Edit. Ca. 2. 
it seems very extraordinary that the later Editions 
should have exchanged it for the following. 
So fresh she was and therto so licand. 

Ver. 9659. false of holy hewe] I have added of, 
from conjecture. See below, ver. 12355. under 
hewe Of holinesse. 

Ver. 9658. his service bedeth] Profereth. So this 
word is explained in another passage, ver. 16533. 
Lo, how this thefe coude his service bede ! 
Ful sbth it is, that swiche profered service 
Stinketh, as witnessen thise olde wise.^ 
See also ver. 8236. 

Ver. 96S1. vernage] Vemacda Ital. **^ Credo sic 
dictum (says Skinner) quasi Veronaccia, ab agro Ve- 
ronensif in quo optimum ex hoc genere vinum crescit." 
Bill the Vernage (whatever may have been the reason 
of its name) was probably a wine of Crete, or of the 
neighbouring continent. Froiss. v. iv. c. 18. De 


Fisle de Candie il leur venoit tresbonnes malvoisiu 
et grenaches [r. gernaches] dont ils estoient large- 
ment servis et confortez. Our author in anothet 
place, yer. 13000,1. joins together the wines of 
Malvesie and Vernage, Malvasia was a town upon 
the eastern coast of the Morea, near the site of the 
ancient Epidaurus Limera, within a small distance 
from Crete. 

Ver. 9C84. Dan Constantine] Dan (a corruption 
of Dominus) was a title of honour usually given to 
Monks, as Dom and Don still are in France and 
Spain. See below, ver. 139i35. 

Whether shall I call you my lord Dan John, 
Or Dan Thomas, or elles Dan Albon ? 
Dan Constantine, according to Fabric. "Bibh Med. 
Mi, t. i. p. 493. wrote about the year 2060. His 
works, including the treatise mentioned in the text, 
were printed at Basil, 1536. fol. 

Ver. 9690. And they han don] This line has also 
been left out of the later Editt. though it is in all the 
best Mss. and in Edit. Ca. 9. To supply its place 
the following line — 

So hasted Januarie it must be don — * 
has been inserted after ver. 9691: and the four lines 
have been made to rime together by adding sone at 
the end of ver. 96B9. ' ) :. »' 

' Let voiden all this hous in* curteia wise sone* 

Ver. d714. Ne hurt himselven] In the Persones 


TaU we have a contrary doctrine, *' God wote, a 
man may slee himself with his owen knif, and make 
himself dronken of his owen tonne, p. 100." 

Ver. 97^1. In ten of Taure] The greatest num- 
ber of Mss. read, two, tuo, too, or to. But the time 
given (foure days complete, ver. 9767.) is not sufii* 
cient for the Moon to pass from the 2d degree of 
Taurus into Cancer. The mean daily motion of the 
Moon being =sl3^. 10'. 35"T her motion in 4 days 
is=l". 22*. 42'.. or not quite 63 degrees; so that> 
supposing her to set out from the 2d of Taurus, she 
would not, in that time, be advanced beyond the 
25th degree of Gemini. If she set out from the 10th 
degree of Taurus (as I have corrected the text) she 
might properly enough be said, in four days, to be 
gliden into Cancer. 

Ver. 9888. a dogge for the bowe] a dog iLsed in 
shooting* See before, ver. 6951, 

Ver. 9966. so brenningly] Vulg. benignly. Mss. 
Ask. 1. 2. readf fervently ; which is probably a gloss 
for the true word, brenningly. See before, ver. 1566. 
Mb. A. re^ds^ benyngly . 

Ver. 9983. For as good is] The reading in the 
text is from Ms. Ask. 1. Ms. A. reads thus ; 

For as good is al blind deceived be 
I should not dislike. 

For as good is al blind deceived td be, 
As be deceived, whan a man may see. 


Ver. 10000. What sleight is it] These lines are 
a little different in Mss. C. 1. HA. 

What sleighte is it, though it be long and hote^ 
That love n'il find it out in som manere ? 

Ver. 10104. Which that heravisshed out of Eth- 
na] So Ms. A. In some other Mss. Ethna, by a 
manifest error of the copyist, has been changed into 
Proserpina. The passage being thus made non- 
sense, other transcribers left out the line, and sub- 
stituted this in its stead. 

" Eche after other right as ony line." 

Ver. 10120. Among a thousand] Ecclesiastes vii. 
28. This argument is treated in much the same 
manner in Melibeus, p. 251 — 4, 

Ver. 10158. The Romain gestes] He means the 
collection of stories called Gesta Romanorum ; of 
which I once thought to say a few words here, in 
order to recommend it to a little more attention 
than it has hitherto met with from those who have 
written upon the poetical inventions of the middle 
ages ; but as many of the stories in that collection 
are taken from a treatise of Petrus Alphonsus, De 
Clericali disciplind (an older and still more forgot- 
ten work), I shall reserve what I have to ofifer upon 
this subject till I come to the Tale of Melibeus, p. 
89. where Piers Alphonse is quoted. 

Ver. 10227. Gan pullen] After this verse, the 
Editt. (except Ca. 2. and Pyns. 1. 2.) have eight 


Others of the lowest and most superfluous ribaldry 
that can well be conceived. It would be a mere 
loss of time to argue from the lines themselves, that 
they were not written by Chaucer, as we have this 
short and decisive reason for rejecting them, that they 
are not found in any one Ms. of authority. They 
are not found in Mss. A. C. 1. Ask. 1. 2. HA. B. C. 

D. G. Bod. a. €. y, 8. €. 5. C. 2. T. N. Ch. In Mss. 

E. H. I. W. either the whole tale, or that part 
where they might be looked for, is wanting. The , 
only tolerable Ms. in which I have seen them is F, 
and there they have been added in the margin, by 
a later hand, perhaps not older than Caxton's first 

Ver. 10^40 Out ! helpe !] Two lines, which fol- 
low this in the common Editt. are omitted for the 
reasons stated in the note upon ver. 10227. And I 
shall take the same liberty, upon exactly the same 
grounds, with four more, which have been inserted 
in those Editt. after ver. 10250. 

Ver. 10241. O stronge lady store] As all the best 
Mss. support this reading, I h^ve not departed from 
it, for fear store should have some signification that I 
am not aware of. Some Mss. have stowre. Ms. 
G. hore. Edit. Ca. 2. hore. Hora, meretrix. Is- 

Ver. 1026 K Ye mase, ye masen] The final n has 
been added without authority, and unnecessarily. 
This line is very oddly written in Mss. Ask. 1. 2. 


Ya may ya may ya quod she. 

Ver. 10293: It has been said in the Discourse &c 
^ xziii. that this new Prologue has been prefixed to 
the Squieres tale upon the authority of the best Mss. 
They are, as follows ; A. C. 1. Ask. 1. 8. HA. D. 
Bod. a. y. d. The concurrence of the first five Mss. 
would alone have been more than sufficient to outr 
weigh the authorities in favour of the other Pro- 
logue. Edit. Ca% 2. (though it has not this Pro- 
logue) agrees with these Mss. in placing the 
Squieres Tale after the Marchants. 

Ver. 10298. weive] This verb is generally used 
.transitively ; to wave, to relinquish a thing. But it 
has also a neuter signification ; to depart; as here. 
See also ver. 47^28. 9357. 

Ver. 10308. Sin women connen utter] Ms. A. 
reads, ante ; but others have utter ; which 1 believe 
is right, though I confess that I do not clearly 
understand the passage. The phrase has occurred 
before, ver, 6103. 

With danger uttren we all our chaffdre, 

Ver. 10344. Of whiche the eldest sone] 1 have 
added sone, for the sake of the metre. 

Ver. 10364. and in his mansion] His refers to 
Mars, and not to the Sun. " Aries est VexaUatum 
du Soleil ou xix. degre. et si est Aries maison de 
Mars." Calend. des Berg. Sign. I. ult. Leo was the 
Matision of the Sun. Ibid. Sig. K. 1. Aries is there 
also said to be signe chault et sec. 


Ver. 103S1 . strange sewes] A sewer was an of- 
,j ficer so called from his placing the dishes upon the 
g iable. Asseour, Fr. from as^oir, to place. In the 
I establishment of the King's household there are still 
four Gentlemen Sewers. Sewes here seem to signify 
^ dishes, ' from . the same original ; as assiette in Fr. 
^ still signifies a little dish, or pUtte, See Gower, 
. Conf, Ant. ^oL lib. h. 

The ilesshe, whan it was, 
She taketh, and maketh therof a seu^e— 
Ver.' 1038^. heronsewes] Herongeaiut. Fr. ac- 
cording to the Glossary. At the Intronization of 
Archbp. Nevil, 6 Edward IV. there were Heronshawes 
iiii C. Lei. Collect, vol. vi. 3. At another feast in 
1530 we read of " 16 Hearonsews, every one 12d." 
Peek's D.C. vol. ii. 12. 

- Ver. 10509. a gentil Foileis courser] A horse of 

Apulia, which in old Fr. was usually called Poille. 

The horses of that country were much esteemed. 

Ms. Bod, James vi. 142. Richard, Archbp. of 

Armagh, in the xivth Century, says in praise of our 

St. Thomas, ** quod nee mulus Hispaniee, nee dex- 

trarius ApulitB, nee repedo i£thiopiee, nee elephantus 

Asiee, nee Camelus Syrise hoc asino nostro Anglifle 

aptior sive audentior invenitur ad prselia." He had 

before informed his audience, th'at Thomas, Anglice, 

idem est quod Thom. Asinus, There is a Patent in 

Rymer, 2 E. II. De dextr arils in Lumbardid eniendis. 


Ver. 10523. the Grekes hors Sinon] This is rather 
an awkward expression for — the horse of Sinon the 
Greek; or, as we might say, Sinon the Greek'i 

Ver. 10546. Alhazen and Vitellon] Alhazeni et 
Vitellonis OptioB are extant, printed at Basil, 1572* 
The first is supposed by his Editor to have lived 
about A.D. 1100. and the second to A. P. 1270. 

Ver. 10561. Canacees] This word should perhaps 
have had an accent on the first e — Qaaac^es, to 
shew that it is to be pronounced as of four syllaUes. 
So also below, ver. 10945. 

And swouneth eft in Canac6es barme. 
Ver. 10570. yknowen it so feme] Known it so he- 
fore. I take /erne to be a corruption offome (foran, 
Sax.) So in Tro. v. 1 176. feme yere seems to sig- 
nify /orwier years. In P. P. fol. Ixxx. h.feme ago is 
used as long ago. 

Ver. 10583. chambre of parements] Chambre de 
parementy is translated by Cotgrave, the presence- 
chamber; and Xi^ (ie paremen^ a bed of state. Pare- 
ments originally signified all sorts of ornamental 
fiirniture, or clothes, from Parer, Fa. to adorn. See 
ver. 2503. and Leg. of G. W. Dido, ver. 181. 
To dauncing chambres, ful of parementes, 
Of riche beddes and of pavementes. 
This Eneas is kdde after the mete. 
The Italians have the same expression. Ist. d. Cone. 


Trident. 1. iii. II Pontefice — ^ritornato alia camera de* 
paramenti co' Cardinali — . 

Ver. 105S7. in the Fish] See the note on ver. 

Ver. 10660. Til that wel nigh] That has been 
added for the sake of the metre. We might read 
with some Mss. 

Til wel nigh the day began for to spring. 
- Ver. 10663. That mochel drinke and labour] So 
Mss. C. 1. HA. In Ms. A. it is. That mirthe arid 
labour. In Ask. 1. 2, That after moche labour. In 
several other Mss. and Editt. Ca. 1 . 2. That moche 
mete and labour. We must search further, I appre- 
hend, for the true reading. 

Ver. 10745. A faucon peregrine] This species 
of Falcon is thus described in the Tresor de Brunet 
Latin, P. 1. Ch. Des Faucons, Ms. Reg. 19 C. X. 
" La seconde lignie est faucons, que hom apele 
pelerins, par ce que nus ne trove son ni. ains est 
pris autresi come en peUrinage, et est mult legiers a 
norrir, et mult cortois, et vaillans, et de bone mani- 
ere." Chaucer adds, that this Falcon was of fremdey 
or f rented lond ; from a foreign country, 

Ver. 10749. leden.] Language, Sax. a corruption 
of Latin, Dante uses Latino in the same sense. 
Canz. 1. 

£ cantine gli augelli 
Ciascuno in suo latino. 

VOL. IV. s 

'258 NOT£S ON THE 

Ver. 10S40. crowned malice] The reader of taste 
will not be displeased, I trust, at my haying re- 
ceived this reading upon the authority of Ms. A. 
only. The common reading is crueL 

Ver. 109^1, thilke text] Boethius, 1. iii. met. 2. 
Repetunt proprios queeque recursus, 
Redituque suo singula gaudent. — 
which our author has thus translated. ** All thynges 
seken ayen to hir propre course, and all th3^ge8 re- 
joysen on hir retourninge agayne to hir nature.'' The 
comparison of the Bird is taken from the same place. 

Ver. 10958. yelouettes blew] Fdvets^ from the 
Fa. Felou, Velouette, See Du Cange, in ▼. Vil- 


I will just add, that as blem was the colour of 
truth [See CL. 248.], so green beloniged to Uioon- 
stancy. Hence in a Ballade up<m an inconstant ladin 
[among Stowe's Additions to Chaucer's works, p. 
551. Ed. Urry.], the burthen is — 

Instede of blew thus may ye were al grene. 

Ver. 10962. thisetidifes] The tidife is mentioned 
as an inconstant bird in the Leg. of G. W. ver. 154. 

As doth the tidif for newefangelnesse. 
Skinner supposes it to be the TUmome; but he po- 
duces no authority for his supposition ^ nor have I 
any to oppose to it. 

Ver. 10963, 4. are transposed from the order in 
which they stand in all the Editt. and Mss. that I 


have seen. Some of the best Mss. however read — 
And pies— which rather countenances the transposi- 
tion. My only excuse for such a liberty mrist be, 
that I cannot make any good sense of thetn in the 
common order. 

Ver. 10977, 8. are also transposed ; but up6n the 
authority of Mss. A. C. I. and, I believe, some 
others; though, being satisfied of the certainty of 
the emendation, I have omitted to take a note of 
their concurrence. Ed. Ca. 2. agrees with those 
Mss. According to the common arrangement, old 
Cambuscan is to win Theodora to his wif, and we 
are not told what is to be the object of Algarsif 's 

Ver. 10981. of Camballo] Ms. A. reads Caballo, 
But this is not my only reason for suspecting a mis- 
take in this name. It seems clear from the context, 
that the person here intended is (not a brother but) 
(t lover of Canace, 

Who fought in listes with the brethren two 
For Canaee, or that he might hire winne. 
The brethren two are, obviously, the two brethren of 
Cfltiace, who have been mentioned above, Algarsif 
and Camballo. In Mss. Ask. 1. 2. it is — hir brethren 
Mibo ; which would put the matter out of all doubt. 
Camballo coud not fight with himself. 

Again, if this Camballo be supposed to be the 
brothei^ of Canace, and to fight m defence of her 
with some tn^o brethren, who might be suitors to 


her (according to Spenser's fiction), he coud not 
properly be said to winne his sister, when he only 
prevented others from winning her. 

The outline therefore of the unfinished part of this 
tale, according to my idea, is nearly this ; the con- 
clusion of the story of the Faucon, 

^* By meditation of Camhallus," 
with the help of the Ring ; the conquests of Cam- 
huscan; the winning of Theodora. by ^/gar«i^, with 
the assistance of the Hone of brass ; and the mar- 
riage of Canace to some hiight, who was first ob- 
liged to fight for her with her two brethren ; a me- 
thod of courtship very consonant to the spirit of 
antient Chivalry. 

Ver. 10984. And ther I left] After this verse, in 
Ms. C. 1. and others, is the following note: ''Here 
endeth the Squieres tale as meche as Chaucer made." 
The two lines, which in the Editt. and some Mss. 
are made to begin a third part, are wanting in all 
the best Mss. 

'' Apollo whirleth up his chare so hie 
Til that the god Mercurius house the slie.'' 
They certainly have not the least appearance of be- 
longing to this place. I should guess that they 
were originally scribbled by some vacant reader in 
the blank space, which is commonly left at the end 
of this tale, and afterwards transcribed^ as Chaucer's 
by some copyist of more diligence than sagacity. 

Ver. 10985. In faith, Squier] The authorities 


for giving this Prologue to the Frankelein, and for 
placing his Tale next to the Squieres, are Mss. A. 
Ask. 1. 2. HA. Bod. a. 7. In Ms. C. 1. there is a 
blank of near two pages at the end of the Squieres 
tale, but the Frankelein's tale follows, beginning at 
ver. 11066. This arrangement is also supported by 
Ed .Ca. 2. For the rest, see the Discourse &c. § xxv. 
Ver. 11021. Thise olde gentil Bretons] Of the 
collection of British Lays by Marie something has 
been said in the Discourse &c. n. 24. I will here 
only quote a few passages from that collection, to 
shew how exactly Chaucer and she agree in their 
manner of speaking of the Armorican bards. The 
Lay of Elidus concludes thus : Ms. Harl. 978. fol. 

De Taventure de ces treis 

Li auntien Bretun curteis 

Firent li lai pur remembrer, 

Qe hum nel deust pas oblier. 
The Lay of Guigiiemar thus : fol. 146. 

De cest cunte, ke oi avez, 

Fu Gkiiguemar le lai trovez, 

Q*hum fait en harpe e en rote, 

Dont est a oir la note, 
The Lay of Chevrefoil begins fol. 17 1. 

Asez me plest, e bien le voil, 

Du lai qe hum nume chevrefoil 

Q'la verite vus encunt. 

Pur quoi il fu fet e dunt. 


Plusurs le me unt cunte e dit, 

P jeo Tai trove en e$crit, 

De Tristram e de la reine, 

De lur amur qui tant fu fine, 

Dupt il eurent meinte dolur, 

Puis mururent en un jur. 
In one particular Chaucer goes further (as I re- 
member) than Marie, when be says, that these Lays 

" Rimeyed in bir firste Breton tonge/' 
if rimeyed be understood to me^n written in Bme. 
But it may very well signify only versyied. Indeed 
the Editor of the Dictionaire de la langue BretoHne 
by Dom Pelletier seems to doubt, whether the Ar- 
morican language be capable of any sort of poetical 
harmony. ** Nous ne voyons pas que nos Bretons 
Armoricains ayent cultiv^e la poesie ; et la langue 
telle qu'ils la parlent, ne paroit pas pouvoir se plier 
k la mesure, k la douceur et k la hannonie des 
vers." Pref. p. i^. A strange dqubt in him, who 
might have found in the Dictionary, which he has 
published, quotations from two Armorican poems, 
viz. les propheties de Gwinglaff and la destruction de 
Jerusalem^ both in Rime. See Arahat. Bagai, And 
he himself speaks in the same preface, p. viii. of let 
vie de S. Gwenol^, premier Abbi de Landevenec, krite 
en vers. The oldest Ms. however now known in the 
language (according to his account) is that coqtain- 
ing les propheties de Gwinglaff, written in 1450. 


Ver. 11113. Not fer fro Penmark] The best Mss. 
have blundered in this name. They write it Ped- 
mark. But Mss. Bod. a. e. and Ed. Ca. 2. have it 
ight — Penmark. The later Editt. have changed it 
'idiculously enough into Denmark, 

Penmark is placed in the maps upon the western 
;oast of Bretagne between Brest and Port L'Orient. 
iValsingham mentions a descent of tjie English in 
.403, apvd Penarch (r. Penmarch) p. 369. See Lo- 
dneau, H. de Bret. t. i. p. 503. In the same his- 
Dry, de Penmarc occurs very frequently as a family- 
ame. The etymology of the word, from Pen (caput, 
ions) and Mark (limes, regiq) is evidently British. 

Ver. 11120. Cairrud] This word is also of Bri- 
sh original, signifying the Red dty ; as. Cair guent 
1 this island signified the White city. Arviragus is 
known British name from the time of Juvenal. 

Ver. 11127. Dorigene] Droguen, or Dorguen, 
as the name of the wife of Alain I. Lobineau, t. i. 
. 70. See also the index to t. ii. 

Ver. 11250. Aurelius] This name, though of 
oman original, was common, we may presume, 
nong the Britons. One of the princes mentioned 
f Gilda& was called Aurelius Conanus. Another 
ritish king is named Aurelius Amhrosms by Geffrey 
' Monmouth. It may be remarked of this last au- 
or, that although he has not paid the least regard 
truth in his narration of facts, he has been very 


attentive to probability in his names both of persons 
and places. 

Ver. 11262. as doth afurie in helle] It is " a fire," 

in Mss. C. 1. Ask. 1. 2. HA. which, perhaps, oaght 

to have been followed: though I cannot say that I 

well understand either of the readings. Fury and 

fuyr have been confounded before, ver. 2686. 

Ver. 1317. Is ther non other grace] I have in- 
serted these two lines in this place upon the autho- 
rity of Ms. A. supported by Mss. £. Bod. B. They 
have usually been placed after ver. 11310. 

Ver. 11422. Pamphilus for Galathee] Mr. Urry, 
misled by his classical learning, has altered this 
most licentiously — 

** Than Polyphemus did for Galathee." 
But the allusion is plainly to the first lines of a Latin 
Poem, which was very popular in the time of 
Chaucer, in which one Pamphilus gives a history of 
his amour with Galatea. 

The poem begins thus Ms. Cotton. Titus. A. xx. 
Liber Pamphili. 
Vulneror et clausum porto sub pectore telum, 

Crescit et assidue plaga dolorque mihi. 

Et ferieutis adhuc non audeo dicere nomen, 

Nee sinit aspectus plaga videre suos. 

This poem, by the name of Pamphilus^ is quoted in 

our author's Melibeus, p. 130. It is extant in 

Ms. in many libraries, and it has also been printed 


3re than once. Leyser. Hist. Poet. Medii. sevi, 
2071. (1171). Catal. Gaignat. n. 2233, 2234. 
Ver. 11453. tregetoures] The profession of a Jo- 
latoTy or Juggler, was anciently very comprehen- 
ire, as appears from this passage of the Breviari 
ee the Discourse &c. n. 25.] 

Altressi peccan lijoglar, 

Que ssabo cantar e balar, 

E ssabo tocar estrumensy 

O ssabon encantar las gens, 

O ffar autra joglayria — 
i the time of Chaucer, the persons who exercised 
le first mentioned branches of the art were called, 
jnerally. Minstrels; and the name ofJogeUmr was, 
I a manner, appropriated to those, who, by sleight 
r hand and machines, produced such illusions of 
le senses as are usually supposed to be effected 
j^ enchantment [See above, ver. 7049.]. This spe- 
cs of Jogelour is here called a Tregetour, They 
:e joined together in company with Magicians. 
:. of F. iii. 169. 

Ther saw I playing JogeUmrs, 

Magidens and Tragetours, 

And Phitonesses, Charmeresses — 

And Clerkes eke which conne wel 

All this magike naturell, — 
26 also the following ver. 187 — 191. 
If we compare the feats of the Tregetours, as de- 


scribed in this passage, with those which are after- 
wards performed by the Clerkes mc^kcy for the en- 
tertainment of his guests [ver. 11501 — 11519], we 
shall find them very similar ; and they may both be 
illustrated by the following account which Sir Joha 
Mandevile has given of the exhibitions before the 
Grete Chan ** And than comen Jogulaurs and En- 
chantoureSf that don many marvaylles : for they 
maken to come in the ayr the Sonne and the Mone, 
be seminge, to every mannes sight. And after they 
maken the nyght so derk, that no man may see no 
thing. And aftre they maken the day to come ayen 
fair and plesant with bright Sonne to every mannes 
sight. And than they bringen in daunces of the 
fairest damyselles of the world and richest arrayed. 
And aftre they maken to comen in other damyselles, 
bringinge coupes of gold, fulle of mylk of dyverse 
bestes, and yeven drynke to lordes and to ladyes. 
And than they make Knygktes to jousten in armes 
fulle lustyly ; and they rennen togidre a gret ran- 
doum; and they frusschen togidere fulle fiercely; 
and they breken here speres so rudely, that the 
tronchouns flen in sprotes and peces alle aboute the 
Halle. And than they make to come i» kuntyng 
for the Hert and for the Boor, with houndes renning 
with open mouthe. And many other thinges they 
don be craft of hir enchauntementes^ lliat it ia mar- 
veyle for to see. And suche playes of desportlhey 
make, til the taking up of the boordo&w'^ Maud. 


. p. 286, 6. See also p. 26i. " and wher it be 

:aft or by nygromancye, I wot nere." 

le Glossary derives tregetour from the Barb. 

Tricator ; but the derivatives of that family are 
eur, tricherie, trick, &c. Nor can I find the 
[ tregetour in any language but our own. It 
is clearly to be formed from treget, which is 
lently used by Chaucer for deceit, imposture. 
., 6267. 6312. 6825. and so is tregetry, ibid. 
. 6382. From whence treget itself may have 

derived is more difficult to say ; but I observe, 
trebuchet (the French name for a military en- 
) is called by Chaucer trepeget. R. R. 6279. 
by Knighton, 2672. trepget ; and that this same 
L trebuchet y in French, signified also a machine 
catching birds, Du Cange, in v. Trepget. 
I appellatio mansit apud nos instruments, aut 
linulis, suspensis et lapsilibus, and captandas 
lias. H^s enim etiamnum trebuchets appella- 
Muratori, in his Antiq. Med. M. Diss. xxvi. 
fS, informs us, that trabocchello, or trabocchetto, 
alian (which he explains to be the same as tre- 
et in French) signified also another instrument 
*aud, which he describes thus : Seeculis Italise 
atissimis-r-in usu fuere teterrima insidiarum 
, id est, in cubiculis pc^vimentum perforatum, ac 
ik tabulsl {Ribalta appellabant) ita caute coo- 
im, ut qui improvide alteram tabulee partem 
bus premer^et, oedente ipsa in ima rueiet. This 


was cleaxly a species of trap-door. The reader will 
judge whether the tregetour may not possibly have 
been so called from his frequent use of these insi- 
dious machines in his operations. 

That a great deal of machinery was requisite to 
produce the apparences, or illusions, enumerated by 
Chaucer in this passage, is very certain ; but not 
long after the art of a Tregetour seems to have been 
reduced to that of a modem Juggler, mere sleight 
of hand. In Lydgate's translation of The Dance of 
Macabre f Ms. Harl. 116. he has introduced a Tre- 
gitour speaking thus : 

What may availe mankynde [f. magike] naturale, 
Or any crafte shewed by apparence. 
Or course of sterres above celestiale. 
Or of heven all the influence, 
Ayenst deth to stand at defence ? 
Lygarde de mayne now helpith me right nought. 
Farewell my craft and all such sapience, 
For deth hath more maistries than I have 
He has also the following speech of Death to a 
famous Tregitour : 

Maister John Rykell, somtime Tregitour 

Of noble Henri kinge of Englelond, 

And of France the mighty conquerour, 

For all the sleightes and turnyng of thyne honde, 

Thou must come nere this dance to understonde : 

Nought may avail all thy conclusions. 


For deth shortly, nother on see nor londe, 
Is not dysceyved by noon illusions. 

Ver. 11567. And nowel crieth] NoSly in French, 
I derived from Natalis, and signified originally a 
ry of joy at Christmas, U jour natal de notre Seig- 
,eur. Menage in v. Nouel. It was afterwards the 
isual cry of the people upon all occasions of joy 
tnd festivity. Hist, de Charles VII. par Chartier, p. 
\. at the proclamation of Henry VI. fut crie sur la 
bsse de son pere k haute voix, Vive le Roy Henry, 
HLoy de France & d' Angleterre ; and avec cela fut 
itik Noel, des assistans, confortans lesdits Anglois. 

Ver. 11585, His tables Toletanes] The Astrono- 
mical Tables, composed by order of Alphonso X, 
king of Castile, about the middle of the xiiith Cen- 
tury, were called sometimes TabuUe TdetaruB, from 
their being adapted to the city of Toledo. There is 
a very elegant copy of them in Ms. Harl. 3647. I 
am not sufficiently skilled in the ancient Astronomy 
to add any thing to the explanation of the following 
technical terms (drawn chiefly from those tables) 
which has been given in the Addit. to Gloss. Urr. v. 


Ver. 1 1679. thise stories here witnesse] They are 
all taken Hieronymus contra Jovinianum, 1. i. 
c. 39. 

Ver. 11766. To alle wives] After this verse the 
two following are found in several Mss. 


The same thing I say of Bilia, 

Of Rhodogone and of Valeria. 
But as they are wanting in Mss. A. C. 1. Ask. 1. 2. 
HA. I was not unwilling to leave tbem out. 

Ver. 11802. She n'olde] After this verse Ed. Ca. 
2. has the six following : 

Peraventure an hepe of you I wis 

Will holden him a lewed man in this. 

That he woll put his wife in jeopardie. 

Herkneth the tale, er ye upon him crie. 

She may have better fortune than you semeth; 

And whan that ye han herde the tale demeth. 
These lines are more in the style and manner of 
Chaucer than interpolations generally are ; but as 1 
do not remember to have found them in any Ms. 1 
coud not receive them into the text. I think too, 
that, if they were written by him, he would proba- 
bly, upon more mature consideration, have sup- 
pressed them, as unnecessarily anticipating the ca- 
tastrophe of the tale. 

Ver. 11807. As she was boun] Ready. This old 
word is restored from Mss. A. Ask. 1. 2. See P. L. 
p. 256. 291. 

Ver. 1 1926. Which was the moste free] The same 
question is stated in the conclusion of Boccace's 
tale. Philoc. 1. v. Dubitasi ora qual di costoro 
fusse magglor liberality &c. The Queen determines 
in favour of the husband. 


Ver. 11939. Ye, let that passe] I have said all 
that I have to say, in favour of this Prologue to the 
Doctour's tale, in the Discourse &c, ^ xxviii. It is 
only found in Ms. A. In Mssi G. 1. HA. the follow- 
ing note is at the end of the Frankelein's tale : " Here 
endeth the Fr. T. and biginneth the Phisiciens tale 
without a Prologe." 

Ver. 11993. For wine and youthe] The context, 
I think, requires that we should read. 

For wine and slouthe don Venus encrese. 
He is giving the reason, why she avoided SlogardiCy 
and did not permitt Bacchus to have maistrie of 
hire mouth ; because wine and slouthe encrease the 
amorous inclinations, as oil and grese do fire. I can 
make no sense o( youthe, or thoughte, as some Mss. 

Ver. 12051. The doctour] Over against this line 
in the margin of Ms. C. Lis written <' Augustinus ;" 
which means, I suppose, that this description of 
Envy is taken from S. Austin. But I doubt whether 
Chaucer meant to quote that Saint by the title of 
The doctour. It rather seems to be an idle paren- 
thesis like that, ver. 7^69. 

Ver. 12074. a cherl] So the best Mss. and Ed. 
Ca, 2. The common Editt. have client. In the Rom, 
de la R. where this story is told [ver. 5815—5894.] 
Claudius is called Sergent of Appius : and accord- 
itigly Chaucer a little lower, ver. 12204. calls him 
" servant — ^unto— Appius." 


In the Discourse &c. § xxix. I forgot to mention 
the Rom, de la Rase as one of the sources of this 
tale ; though, upon examination, I find that onr au- 
thor has drawn more from thence, than from either 
Gower or Livy. 
V/er. 12159. For love] Rom. de la R. 5871. 

Car par amour et sans hdXne 

A sa belle fille Virgine 

Tantost a la teste couple, 

£t puis au Juge presentee, 

Devant tous en plain Consistoiref 

Et le Juge, selon I'hystoire, 

Le commanda tantost k prendre — 
See below, v. 12190 — 3. The speeches of Virgimu* 
and his daughter are of Chaucer's own inventioB. 

Ver. 12233. Of bothe yeftes] This line is restared 
from Mss. C. 1. HA. It had been supplied in the 
common copies by the following : 

But hereof wol I not proceed as now. 
Ver. 12236. a pitous tale] This is the reading of 
two good Mss. A. and HA. but I believe it to be s 
gloss. The other copies read eniefuly which is near 
the truth. It should be ermeful. Earme, Sai* 
signifies miser. Hence earmelice, miser^. Chr. Sax. 
65. earmthe, miteria, ibid. 141. And a little lower, 
ver. 12246. to erme is used for to grieve as the Six- 
earmian is, Chr. Sax. 188. 14. 

Ver. 12239. thy jordanes] This word is in Wal- 
singham, p. 288. '< duee oUe, quas Jordanes voca- 


nus> ad ejus collum colligantur." This is part of 
the punishment of a pretended Phisicus et astrologus, 
vv'ho had deceived the people by a false prediction. 
Hollinshed calls them two jorden pots, p. 440. 

Ver. 12240. Thin ypocras] Ypocras (or Hippo- 
eras) and Galianes should both have been printed, 
as proper names, with great initial letters. See the 
note on ver. 433. 

Ver. 12246. Said I not wel ?] All the best Mss. 
agree in giving this phrase to the Host in this place. 
It must remind us of the similar phrase, said I well ? 
which occurs so frequently in the mouth of Shake- 
speare's Host of the Garter ; and may be sufficient, 
with the other circumstances of general resemblance, 
tQ make us believe, that Shakespeare, when he drew 
that character, had not forgotten his Chaucer. 

Ver. 12279. To saffiron] So Ms. A. and Ed. Ca. 
2. I have preferred it to the common reading savor, 
as more expressive, and less likely to have been a 
gloss. Saffiron was used to give colour as well as 

The next lines are thus read in Mss. C. 1. Ask. 
1. 2. HA. 

In. every village and in every toun. 
This is my teme, and shal and ever was ; 
Radix malorum est cupiditas. 
Than shew I forth, &c. 
And perhaps I ought to have followed them. 



Ver. 1^97. Fasting ydrihken] The prepositive 
particle y has been added for liie sake of the metre. 

Ver. 18340. gon a blt^e beried] So all the Mts. 
I think, except Ask. 2. which reads ** on blake be 
ryed.** Skinner explains bkUceberied to m^an in m 
grtu et inauspiccUas dorno^ imuus* I really cannot 
guess what it means. 

Ver. 12341. For certes] See R. R. ver. 5763. 
For oft gode predicacioun 
Cometh of evil entenoioini. 

Ver. 12409. Hem thought the Jewes] The same 
thought is repeated in the Persones Taie, p. 65. 

Ver. 12411. tombeBteres] 1V(mvni-dMb9Tiy from 
the Sax. "tufmhan^ to dance. His uses the word agaia 
in the Test, of L. B. 2. The Editt^ read <omUeK»- 
res ; which is a later word, 'formed {like our iumbUm)^ 
from tumhelan, the frequentative of tumh<m. 

With respect to iiie termination in «liere, see the 
note on ver. 2019. and in the next line 
are to be understood to h^ female sellers ^fffruHi 

Ver. 12417. The holy writ] In marg. C. 1. N 
lite inebriari vino, in quo est luxuria. 

Ver. 12426. Seneca] Perhaps he refers to Epist 
Lxxxiii. Extende in plures dies ilium ebrii habi- 
turn : nunquid de furore dubitabts ? nunc quoque non 
est minor sed brevior. 

Ver. 12442. For while that Adam] At this 
the margin of Ms. 'C. 1. quotes ^Hteronym. c. Jovi 



ian. Quam diu jejunavit Adam in Paradiso fuit. 
S^imedit et ejectus est. Statim duxit uxorem. 

Yer. 12455. Mete unto wombe] Inmarg. C. 1. 
^ca ventri, &c. 

Ver. 12462. The Apostle saith] Philippians, iii. 


Ver, 12468. stinking is thy cod] So Ms. C. Or 
"« may read with Ms. B. h, ofoule stinking cod. 
Ver. 12471. to find] to supply. So ver. 14835. 
She found hireself and eke hire doughtren tw5. 
MDe also P. P. fol. Ixxx. 

For a frend, thsitfrideth him, faileth him never 
at nede. 
'Ver. 124&7- the white wine of Lepe] According 
^ the Geographers, Lepe was not far from Cadiz. 
Ids wine, of whatever sort it may have been, was 
K-obai)ly much stronger than the Gascon wines, 
Mially drunk in England. La Rochelle and Bour- 
X [ver. 12505], the two chief ports of Gascony, 
both, in Chaucer's time, part of the English 

.. Spanish wines might also be more alluring uppn. 
^count of their greater rarity. Among the Orders 
IF the Royal Household, in 1604, is the following. 
fefs. Harl. 293. fol. 162.] '< And whereas, in tymes 
<^lrt, Spanish wines, called Sacke, were little or noe 
^ittt used in our courte, and that in later years, 
kiptigh not of ordinary allowance, it was thought 


convenient, that noblemen, &c. might have a boule 
or glass, &c. We understanding that it is now 
used as common drinke, &c. reduce the allowance 
to XII Gallons a day for the court, &c." 

Ver. 12520. Redeth the Bible] Proverbs, xxxi. 4. 

Ver. 12537. Stilbon] John of Salisbury (from 
whom our author probably took this story and the 
following) calls him Chilon. Polycrat. L. 1. c. 5. 
Chilon Lacedeemonius, jugendee societatis caus& 
missus Corinthum, duces et seniores populi luden- 
tes invenit in alea. Infecto itaque negotio reversus 
est, &c. Accordingly in ver. 12539. Ms. C. 1. reads 
very rightly Lacedomye instead of CaUdone, the com- 
mon reading. Our author has used before Lacedo- 
mie for Lacedtemon, ver. 11692. 

Ver. 1*2 542. Yplaying atte hasard] I have added 
the prepositive y for the sake of the metre. Atte is 
a dissyllable. It was originally atten, and is so 
used by R. G. p. 379. 431. It has been frequently 
corrupted into at the; but in Chaucer it may (and, 
I think, should) almost every where be restored. 
See ver. 125. 3934. 4303. where some Mss. have pre- 
served the true readings — atte Bo we ; atte full. 

Ver. 12586. his nailes] i. e. with which he was 
nailed to the Cross. Sir J. Mandevile, c. vii. *' And 
thereby in the walle is the place where the 4 Nayles 
of our Lord weren hidd ; for he had 2 in his bonder 
and 2 in his feet: and of one of theise the Empe^ 


roiir of Costanty noble made a brydille to his hbrs, 
to bere him in bataylle ; and thorgh vertue thereof 
he overcame his enemies, &c." He had said before, 
c. ii. that " on of the nayles that Crist was naylled 
-with on the cross/' was at Con stanty noble ; and 
** on in France, in the Kinges chapelle." 

Ver. 12587. the blood— in Hailes] The Abbey of 
Hailes, in Glocestershire, was founded by Richard, 
King of the Romans, brother to Henry HI. This 
precious relick, which was afterwards commonly 
called " the blood of Hailes," was brought out of 
Ctermanie by the son of Richard, Edmund, who be- 
stowed a third part of it upon his father's Abbey of 
Hailes^ and some time after gave the other two parts 
to an Abbey of his own foundation at Ashrug near 
Berkhamsted. HoUinsh. v. ii. p. 275. 

Ver, 12590. the bicchel bones two] The com- 
mon reading is thilke bones. The alteration, which 
I have ventured to make, is not authorized entirely 
by any Ms. but in part by several. Ms. A. reads 
-Hche*, C. 1. the hecched, HA. and H. the hicched, C. 
B. B. Nc. Ed. Ca. 1. the bicchid, B. a. the bicche, Ed. 
Ca. 2. the bitched, Bickel, as explained by Kilian, is 
Talus, ovillus et lusorius ; and Bickelen, talis ludere. 
'See also Had. Junii Nomencl. n. 213. Our dice 
indeed are the antient tissenBy (%vtoi) not tali (a^pa- 
yoXoi) ; but, both being games of hazsuxi, the imple- 
ikients of one might be easily attributed to the other. 


It should seem from Junius, loc. cit. that the Ge^ 
mans had preserved the custom of playing with the 
natural bones , as they have di£ferent names for a 
game with tali ovilU, and another with tali bubuU. 

Ver. 12600. Go bet] The same phrase is used in 
Leg. of G. W. Dido. 288. 

The herd of hartes founden is anon, 
With hey, go hety pricke thou, let gon, let gon. 
where it seems to be a term of the chase. 

Ver. 12885. Seint Heleine] Sir J. Mandevile, c. 
vii. p. 93. '^ and nyghe that awtier is a place undre 
erthe, 42 degrees of depenesse, where the Hdy 
Croys was founden, be the wytt of Seynte Elyne, 
undir a roche, where the Jewes had hidde it. And 
that was the veray croys assayed ; for they founden 
3 crosses ; on of oure Lord and 2 of the 2 theves: 
and Seynte Elyne proved hem on a ded body, that 
aros from dethe to lyve, whan that it was leyd on 
it, that oure Lord dyed on." See also c. ii. p. 15. 

Ver. 12914. I smell a loller] This is in charac- 
ter, as appears fVom a treatise of the time. Hwl 
Catal. n. 1666. '' Now in Engelond it is a comun 
protectioun ayens persecutioun — if a man is cus- 
tomable to swere nedeles and fals and unavised, bf 
the bones, nailes, and sides and other membres of 
Crist. — And to absteyne £ro othes nedeles and iin* 
leful, — and repreve sinne by way of charite, is ma- 
ter and cause now, why Prelates and sum Lordes 


scl^uiidrea men, and clepen hem LoUardes, Ere- 

Ver. 1^19. Sayde the Shipman] So Ms. B. $. 
the one Ms. (as I have said in the Discourse &c. 
§. xxxi.) which countenances the giving of this Pro- 
logue to the Shipman. In Mss. C. and D. this pas- 
sage is given to the Sompnour, hut not hy way of 
Prologue to his tale. In C. it is followed hy the 
Wife of Bathes Prologue, and in D. by the Pro- 
logue which in this edition is prefixed to the Squire's 

When these diversities are considered, and also 
that the whole passage is wanting in the five best 
Mss. it may perhaps appear not improbable, that 
these 28 lites, though composed by Chaucer, had 
not been inserted by him in the body of his work ; 
that they were therefore omitted in the first copies, 
and were afterwards injudiciously prefixed to the 
Squieres Tale» when the true Prologue of that Tale, 
a^ printed above, w^ become unsuitable, by reason 
pf the Ta)e itself being removed out of its proper 

\'er. 129^3* springen cockle] This seems to al* 
ltl4e to J^qllery aa derived from lolium ; but Du 
Cange> in v. Lollaepus, rather supposes that Lol^ 
lard was a word of German original, signifying^ mtbs-' 
diator ; a mumbler of prayers. See also Kilian, in 

V. lipL^Af^RD. 


Ver. 12949. He mote us clothe] In Ed. Ur. it is 
them; but all the Mss. that I have seen read us: 
which would lead one to suspect^ that this Tale was 
originally intended for a female character. 

Ver. 13000. Malveste] See the note on ver. 

Ver. 13097. under the yerde] This was properly 
said of children. Ms. Bod. Jun. 66. Monacbicoffi 
Colloquium, Sax. Lat. p. 15. 
Mag. Quid manducas m die ? 

Haweet ytst thu on deeg ? 
Dis. Adhuc camibus vescor^ 

Gyt fleescmetum ic bruce,] 
quia puer sum 
Fortham cild ic eom 
sub virga degens. 
under gyrda drohtniende. 
See before ver. 7898. 

Ver. 13061. on my Portos] i. e. Breviary, Do 
Cange in v. Portiforium. Portuasses are men- 
tioned among other prohibited books in the Stat. 3 
and 4 E. VI. Cr 10. And in the Parliament-roll of 
7 E. IV. n. 40. there is a Petition, that the robbing 
of— Por/eow« — Grayell, Manuell, &c. should be made 
felonie without clergy ; to which the King answered, 
Le Roy s*avisera, 

Ver. 13946. Haven hire] The final n in Hat?enhas 
been added for the sake of the metre ; but unne- 


cessarily, as the e feminine may be pronounced be- 
fore /i, as before a consonant. See the n. on ver. 300. 

Ver. 13368. a thousand last quad yere] Last in 
Teut. is onus, sarcina, Kilian. and quaed in the same 
language is maliLs. The meaning therefore is ; God 
give the monke a thousand last (ever so great a 
weight) of qucui yere (bad years, misfortune). The 
Italians use mat anno in the same sense. 

Ver. 13383. O Lord, our Lord] The Prioresse 
begins her legende with the first verses of the 8th 
Psalm, Domine, Dominus noster &c. 

Ver. 13401. Whan he thin herte light] i. e. light- 
ed ; made l^ht, or pleasant. So in Tro. B. iii. 1088. 
Whan wroth is he that shold ray sorrowes light, 

Ver. 13444. Seint Nicholas] We have an account 
of the very early piety of this Saint in his Lesson, 
Brev. lloman. vi Decemb, Cujus viri sanctitas, 
quanta futura esset, jam ab incunabulis apparuit. 
Nam infans, cum reliquas dies lac nutricis frequens 
sugeret, quartsl et sext^ ferid (on Wednesdays and 
Fridays) semel duntaxat, idque vesperi, sugebat. 

Ver. 13509. souded in virginitee] or (according 
to the better Mss.) souded to virginitee. Souded is 
from the Fr. sould^, and that from the Lat. solida- 
tus ; consolidated, fastened together. In WiclifTs 
N. T. Dedis. iii. consolidata is rendered sowdtd. 
The latter part of this stanza refers to Revelat. xiv. 
3, 4. 


Ver. 13575. I haUe thee] Mss. Ask. 1. 9. read 
'' I conjure thee" — but that seems to be a glosi 
To halse signifies properly to embrace round the 
necky from the Sax. hals, the neck. [See yer 10053.] 
So in CL. ver. 1290. 

I stand and speke and laugh and kisse and habe. 
It signifies also to sahtte. P. P. fol. xxii. 

I halse hym heodlich, as I hys frende were, 
and fol. xxxix. to salute with reverence. 

And the eleven aterres halsed him all. 
whichseems to be the sense here. 

Ver. 13597. than wol I fetchen thee] The best 
Mss. read now^ which is scarce reconeileaUe to any 
rules of speech. Even with the correction, which 1 
have adopted, there is a greater confusion in diis 
narration than I recollect to have observed in any 
other of Chaucer's stories. 

Ver. 13623. to japen he began] So Ms. £. Some 
Mss. read — tho began. 

Ver. 13650. at Popering] Poppermg, or PoppeU 
big, was the name of a parish in the Marches of 
Calais. Our famous antiquary Leland was once 
Rector of it. Tanner. Bib. Brit, in v. IiElanp. 

Ver. 13655. paindemaine] That tbi^ must have 
been a sort of remarkably, white bread is clear 
enough. Skinner deriyes it from Panis f»atu^uSf 
Pain de matin; and indeed Du Cange mentions I 
species of loaves or rolls called MatinelU, Howler 


i am more enclined to believe that it received its 
denomination from the province of Maine, where it 
was, perhaps, made in the greatest perfection. I 
find it twice in a Northern tale called '' The freiris 
of Berwick. " Ms. Maitland. 

And als that creil is full of breid of mane. 
And again — the mane breid, 

Ver. 13664. chekelatoun] The Glossaries suppose 
this word to be compounded of cheke and latoun, a 
species of base metal like gold : but it seems rather 
to be merely a corruption of the Fr. Ciclaton ; which 
originally signified a circular robe of state, from the 
Gr. Lat. Cyclas ; and afterwards the cloth of gold, 
of which such robes were generally made. Du 
Cange in v. Ctclas has produced instances enough 
of both senses. In fact several Mss. read Ciclaton; 
and I have no excuse for not having followed them, 
Imt that J was misled by the authority of Spenser, 
as quoted by Mr. Warton, Obs. on Sp. v. i. p. 194. 
Upon further consideration, I think it is plain, that 
Spenser was mistaken in the very foundation of his 
notion, " that the quilted Irish jacket embroidered 
with gilded leather" had any resemblance to ** the 
robe of Shecklaton." He supposes, that Chaucer is^ 
hfire describing Sir Thopas, as he went to fight against 
the Gianty in his robe of Shecklaton ; whereas, on 
the contrary, it is evident that Sir Thopas is here 
described in his tisual habit in time of peace. His 


warlike apparel, when he goes to fight against the 
giant^ is described below, ver. 13786 and foil, and 
is totally different. 

Ver. 13665. a jane] a coin of Janua, ('Genoa) cal- 
led in our Statutes Galley halfpence. See the quo- 
tations from Stow in Mr. Warton's Obs. on Sp. v. 
i. p. 180. 

Ver. 13667. banking for the rivere] See the note 
on ver. 6466. 

Ver. 13671. Ther ony ram] See the note on ver. 

Ver. 1368"^. a launcegay] The Editt. have split 
this improperly into two words, as if gay were an 
epithet. It occurs as one word in Rot. Pari. 29 H. 
VI. n. 8. " And the said Evan then and there with a 
launcegay smote the said William Tresham threughe 
the body a foote and more whereof he died." Nicot 
describes a Zagaye to be a moorish lance, longer 
and slenderer than a pike ; from the Span. Ajrab. 

Ver. 13692. clone gilofre] Clou de girofle. Fr. 
Caryophyilus, Lat. A clove- tree, or the firuit of it 
Sir J. Mandeville, c. xxvi. describing a country be- 
yond Cathaie, says. " And in that c^ntree, and in 
other contrees thereabouten, growen many trees, 
that beren clowe gylofres and notemuges, and grete 
notes of Ynde, and of canelle and of many other 


But the most apposite illustration of this passage 
is a similar description in Chaucer's R. R. ver. 
1360— 72.— in the Original, ver. 1347—50. See 
also a note of an ingenious correspondent in Mr 
Warton's Obs. on Sp. v. i. p. 139. Ed. 1762. where 
this passage is very properly adduced, to shew 
" that the Rime of Sire Thopas was intended as a 
burlesque on the old ballad romances." 

Ver. 13722. || in toun] These two last words, 
which are plainly superfluous, are distinguished, by 
a mark of this kind in Ms. C. 1. and the same mark 
is repeated in ver. 13743, 13752, and 13815. where 
the two final syllables are also superfluous to the 
metre. Whether in all these cases the words thus 
separated are to be considered as idle additions, for 
the purpose of introducing the rime which answers 
to them, or whether some lines, which originally 
connected them with the context, have been lost, 
it is not easy to determine. Upon the latter sup- 
position, which, I confess, appears to me the most 
probable, we may imagine, that, in the present in- 
stance, the three last lines of this stanza and the 
three first of the following (except the words " in 
toun") have dropped out. In the three other in- 
stances, only two lines and the two first feet of the 
third may be supposed to be wanting. 

In support of this hypothesis it may be observed, 
that in the very next Stanza, the last line, ver. 13731. 
and the following line, in Ms. C. 1. stand thus. 


The contree of Faerie to wilde 
For in that contree n'as ther non 
[That to him durst ride or gon] 
Neither wif ne childe. 
Whether the two lines and part of anether, whidi I 
have inserted before '' wilde" from other Mss. be 
^Buine, I will not be positive ; but it is very clear, 
I think, that something is wanting. The line be- 
tween hooks, which is inserted in Ms. C. 1. in a 
later hand, is in Mss. HA. D. 

Ver. 13733. he spied] Ed. Uir. reads tpired; I 
know not upon what authority. But the emenda- 
tion is probable enough ; as the expression of spying 
with the mouth seems to be too extravagantly absurd 
even for this composition. To jptre, or tpere, Gl. 
Doug, signifies to enquire, from the Sax. i^yrian. 
See. P. L. p. 3^7. Gower, Qmf. Am. fol. 182. 

Ver. 13739. Sire OUphaunt] Sir Elephant ; a pro- 
per name for a giant. Mandeville, p. £83. ** And 
there ben also many wylde bestes, and namelicbe nf 
Oltifgnmtes" Tftie very learned and ingenious au- 
thor of Letters an Chivalry, ^c, supposes, <' that 
the Boke of The Giant Olyphant and Chylde Thopes 
was not a fiction of Chaucer's own, but a story of 
antique fame, and very celebrated in €tu& days of 
chivalry." I can only say, that I have not been 10 
fortunate as to meet with any traces of such a story 
of an earher date than the Oanterbury Taleis. 

Ver. lSt41. by Termagawnt] This Bartu^en deity, 


in an old Romance, Ms. Bod. 1624. is constantly 
called Tervagan, 

De devant sei fait porter sun dragon, 

£ Testendart tervagan «e mahum, 

E un ymagene apolin le felun. 
And again. 

Pleignent lur deus terotigan et mahum, 

£ apollin^ dunt'il mie rien unt. 
This Romance, whicfa in the Ms. has no title, may 
possibly be an older copy of one, which is fre- 
qnently qiioted by Du Cange under the title of Le 
Reman de Rwicevaux. The author's name was Tu- 
rold, as appears from the last line. 

Ci fait le geste que turoW dedinet. 
He is not mentioned by any of the writers of French 
literary history that I have seen. 

Ver. 13758. a fel staf sling] This is the reading 
of the best Mss. but what kind of sling is meant I 
know not. See the Gloss, in v. Staffsling. 

Ver. 13775. gestours for to tellen tales] The pro- 
per business of a gestour was to recite tales, or 
gestes ; which was only one of the branches of the 
Minstrel's profession. 

Minstrels and Gestours are mentioned together in 
the following lines, from William of Nassyr^gton's 
Translation of a religious treatise by John of Walby. 
Ms. Reg. 17. C. viii. p. 2. 

I wame you furst at the begynninge, 

That I will make n6 v«in carpin^e 


Of dedes of armys ne of amours, 

As dus mynstrelles B,n6. jestours, 

That makys carpinge in many a place 

Of Octoviane and Isembrase, 

And of many other jestes, 

And namely whan they come to festes ; 

Ne of the life of Bevys of Hampton, 

That was a knight of gret renoun, 

Ne of Sir Gye of Warwyke, 

All if it might sum men lyke — 
I cite these lines to shew the species of tales re- 
lated by the ancient Oestours, and how much they 
differed from what we now callje^^c*. 

Ver. 13777. Of romaunces that ben reales] So in 
the Rom. of Ywain and Gawain. Ms. Cott, Gdb. 
E. ix. 

He fund a knight under a tre ; 

Upon a cloth of gold he lay ; 

Byfor him sat a ful fayr may : 

A lady sat with tham in fere ; 

The maiden red, that thai might here, 

A real roinance in that place. — 
The original of this title, which is an uncommon 
one, I take to have been this. When the French 
romances found their way into Italy (not long be- 
fore the year 1300. Crescimb. T. i. p. 336.), some 
Italian undertook to collect together all those re- 
lating to Charlemagne and his family, and to form 
them into a regular body of history. The six first 


iDOoks of this work come down to the death of 
I'epin. They begin thus. Qui se comenza la hys- 
toria el Real di Franza comenzando a Constantino 
imperatore secondo molte lezende che io ho attro- 
Tate e racolte insieme. Edit, MuHtkb. 1491. fol. It 
ivas reprinted in 1537 under this title. '* / reali di 
FranzOy nel quale si contiene la generazione di tutti 
i Re, Duchi, Principi e Baroni di Franza, e delli 
Paladini, coUe battaglie da loro fatte &c." Quadrio. 
T. vi. p. 530. Salviati had seen a Ms. of this work 
written about 1350 [Crescimb. T. i. p. 330] and I 
do not believe that any mention of a Real (or Royal) 
Romance is to be found, in French or English, prior 
to that date. 

Ver. 13786, He didde next his white lere] He did, 
OT put, on next his white skin. To don {do on) and 
doff (do off) have been in use, as vulgar words, long 
since Chaucer's time. Lere seems to be used for 
skin in Isumbras. Ms. Cott. Cal. 11. fol. 199. 

His lady is white as wales bone, 

Here lere brygte to se upon, 
So faire as blpsme on tre. 
Though it more commonly signifies only, what we 
call complexion. 

In the Romance of Li beau desconus, his arming 
is thus described, fol. 4^. 

They caste on him a scherte of selk, 

A gypell as white as melk 

VOL. IV. u 


In that semely sale. 
And syet an hawberk brygt, 
That richely was adygt 
With mayles thykke and 8iiial< 

Ver. 13793. of Jewes werk] I do not recollect to 
have seen the Jews celebrated any where as remark- 
able artificers. I am therefore inclined to adopt an 
explanation of this word, which I find in a note of 
the learned Editor of Anc. Scott, Poems, p. 330. 
** This Jow/' not this Jew, but this juggler or ma- 
gician. The words to jowk, to deceive, and jow- 
kery-pawkry, juggling tricks, are still in use. In 
Lord Hyndford's Ms. p. 136*. there is a fragment d 
a sort of fairy tale, where '' Scho is the Queoe of 
Jowis" means, *' She is the queen of magicians." 

According to this explanation '' Jewes werk'^ 
may signify the work of magicians, or dairies 

Ver. 13600. a charboude] A oarbu»cle {Etcarhou- 
cle, Fr.) was a common beadng. Quillim's Heral- 
dry, p. 109. 

Ver. 13804. cuirbouly] Cuir bomUi, of which Sir 
Thopases boots were made, was also applied to many 
other purposes. See Froissart, v. i. c. 110. ISa and 
V. iv. c. 19. In this last passage, he says, the Sa- 
racens covered their targes with cuir bouilli de Ca- 
padoce, ou nul fer ne peut prendre n'attacher ; si le 
cuir n'est trop ^chauf^. 

Ver. 13807. rewel bone] What kind of material 


this was I profess myself quite ignorant. In the 
Tfumamemi of Tottenham^ ver. 75. [Anc. Poet v. ii. 
p. 18.] Tibbe is introduced with '* a garland on her 
head full of rtwW honest The derivation in Gloss. 
Urr. of this word from the Fr. rioU, diversly co- 
loured, has not the least probability. The other, 
which deduces it from the Fr. rouelle ; r^tula ) the 
whirl-bone, or knee-pan ; is more plausible; though, 
as the Cdossarist observes, that sense will hardly 
suit here« 

Ver. 13823. Of ladies love and druerie] I have 
taken the liberty here of departing from the Mss. 
wbich read — 

And of ladies love druerie. 
Upon second thoughts I am more inclined to throw 
out love as a gloss for druerie, and to read thus. 

And of ladies druerie. 
Druerie is strangely explained in Gloss. Urr. So^ 
hriety, modesty. It means courtship y gallantry, 

Ver. 13828. Of Sire Libeux] His romance is in 
Ms. Cott. Cal. ii. In the 12th Stansa we have his 
true name and the reason of it. King Arthur 

Now clepeth him alle thus, 

Ly beau desconus. 
For the love of me, 

Than may ye wete arowe, 

Thefayre unknmoe 
Cettes so faatte he^ 


Ibid. Pleindamour] This is the reading of the 
Mss. and I know not why we should change it for 
BlatidamouTf as both names sound equally well. 

Ver. 13833. As sparclej The same similie is in 
Isumbrcu, fol. 130. b. 

He spronge forth, as sparke on [f. of] glede. 
Glode in the preceding verse is probably for gUwde, 
glowed; from the Sax. glowan, candere. 

Ver. 13840. Sire Percivell] The Romance of 
Perceval le Galois or de Gaits, was composed in 
octosyllable French verse by Chrestien de Troyes, 
one of the oldest and best French Romancers, be- 
fore the year 1191. Fauchet, L. ii. c. x. It con- 
sisted of above sixty thousand verses [Bihl. des Rom. 
T. 11. p. 250], so that it would be some trouble to 
find the fact which is, probably, here alluded to. 
The Romance, under the same title, in French prose, 
printed at Paris, 1530. fol. can be only an abridge- 
ment, I suppose, of the original poem. 

Ver. 13845. So worthy under wede] This phrase 
occurs repeatedly in the Romance of Emar4. 

fol. 70. b. Than sayde that worthy unther wede. 
74. b. The childe was worthy unther wede. 
And sate upon a nobyl stede. 
See also fol. 71. b. 73. a. 

Ver. 13852. the devil I beteche] I betake (recom- 
mend or give, to the devil. See ver. 3748. 

My soule betake I unto Sathanas. — 
and ver. 8037. 17^56. where, the preposition is 


omitted^ as here. To take, in our old language, is 
also used for To take to; To give. See ver. 13334. 

He toke me certain gold, I wote it wel. 
And compare ver. 13224. 13286. 

The change of betake into beteche was not so great 
a licence formerly as it would be now, as ch and k 
seem once to have been pronounced in nearly the 
same manner. See ver. 3307, 8, 11, 12. where werk 
is made to rime to cherche and clerk. It may be ob- 
served too, that the Saxons had but one verb, teecan, 
to signify capere and docere; and though our an- 
cestors, e^en before Chaucer's time, had split that 
single verb into two, To take and To teche, and had 
distinguished each from the other by a different 
mode of inflexion, yet the compound verb Betake, 
which according to that mode of inflexion ought to 
have formed its past time Betoke, formed it often, I 
believe, Betaught, as if no such distinction had been 
established. See R. R. ver. 4438. Gamelyn, 666, 
The regular past time Betoke occurs in ver. 16009. 

Ver. 13879. I mene of Mark and Matthew] The 
conjunction and has been added for the sake of the 
metre, without authority, and perhaps without ne- 
cessity ; as Mark was probably written by Chaucer 
Marke, and pronounced as a Dissyllable. 

The tale of Melibeus] Mr. Thomas has ob- 
served, that this Tale seems to have been written in 
hlank verse. [Mss. notes upon Chaucer, Ed. Urr. 


in Brit. Mus.} It is eertrnn, that in the foimer part 
of it we find a number of blank verses intennixed, 
in a much greater proportion than in any of oui 
author's other prose writings. But this poedcal 
style is not, I think, remarkable beyond the first 
four or fiye pages. 

p. 8] . 1. IS. the sentence of Ovide] Rem, Am. 195. 
Qms matrem, nisi mentis inops, in funere niti 
Flere vetet ? &c. 
If would be a laborious and thankless task to point 
out the exact places of all the quotations, which are 
made use of in this treatise. I shall therefore con- 
fine my observations of that kind to a few passages, 
which are taken from authors not commonly to be 
met with. 

P. 99. 1. 3. Piers Alphonse} He calls himself 
Petrus Alfunsi in his Dialogw conira Jitdaos, Ms. 
Harl. 3861. He there informs us, that he was him- 
self originally a Jew, but converted and baptized in 
the year 1106, in July, die natalis App, Petri & 
Pauli; upon which account he took the name of 
Peter. '' Fuit etutem pater mens spiritualis Alfun- 
sus, gloriosits Hispanie imperator, (the 1 king of Ar- 
ragon of that name and the vii of Castile) — qwirey 
nomen ejus prefato nomini meo apponens, Petrus Al- 
funsi mihi nomen impostti** After his conversion he 
wrote the 'Dialogue abovementioned, and also an- 
other work, which is here quoted by Chaucer, and 


of which therefore I think myself oblig»ed to give 
some aceount. 

It is extant in Ms. in many Libraries, but the only 
copy which I have had an opportunity of examining 
is in the Museum, ^ib. Reg, IQ. B, ?^ii. It is there 
entitled " Petri A4eymi8i de Clericali diseiplind/' and 
begins thus. ^^ Dixit Petrus Adelfonsus, servus 
xpi ihu, compositor hiijus libri — Libelltim compegi 
partim ex proverbiis & castigationibus Arabicis & 
fabulis et versibus, et partim ex animalium et yolu' 
crum similitudinibus." — After a short proem, he en- 
ters thus upon his main subject. *^ Eboc igitur phi- 
losophus, qui lingui Arabic^ cognominatur Edric, 
dixit filio suo ; Timor Domini sit tua negotiatio &c.'' 
— ^The work then proceeds in the form of a Dialogue 
between the Philosopher and his son, in which the 
precepts of the former are for the most part illus- 
trated by apposite fables and examples. Edris (ac- 
cording to D'Herbelot in v.) was the name of Enoch 
among the Arabians, who attribute to him many 
fabulous compositions. Whether Alfonsus had any 
of them in his view I know not, nor is it material. 
The manner and style of his work shew both many 
marks of an Eastern original, and one of his stories 
Of a trick put upon a thief is entirely taken from 
the Calilah u Damnah *, a celebrated collection of 
Oriental apologues. 

* Though the exact «ge of the Catilah u Damoah be by on 


In this part of the world, however, Alfonsus may 
be considered as an original writer. His work was 

means dear, we know that it was translated out of Arabic into Greek 
by Syroeon Seth several years before Alfonsas wrote. The story 
mentioned here is not in that copy of Symeon's translation which 
Starkius has printed under the title of Sptctmtn SapiemtUB Indonm. 
Berolin. 1697. 8vo. but it is in Ms. Bod, 510. and in the Latin 
version of Symeon's book, which Fousnn published by way of 
Appendu to the History of Pachymeres, utter Script. Hist. By- 
zant. The various titles, under which this Eastern romance has 
passed through Europe may be seen in the Preface of Starkias, 
and in Fabric Bib. Gr. vi. 460. and x. 324. though neither of 
them has taken notice of an Italian translation, or imitati(Hi, by 
Firenzuola, entitled, Ditcorgi d^li animaU. See his Prose, Fir. 
1548. The other Italian version, which they mention, by I>oni, 
was translated into English, under the title ot *' The moral Philo- 
sophy of Doni, out of Italian, by Sir Thomas North, Knight." 4to. 
1601. [Ames. p. 485] and is alluded to, I suppose, by Jonson in 
hb Epicsene, p. 494. by the name of Done*s Phiiosophy, -though 
he has made the Speaker, Sir Am. Ia-FooI, (whether dengnedlj, 
or not, I am uncertain) confound it with Reynard the fox. Smce 
they wrote, there has been an Edition at Paris in 1724 with this 
tide. Contes et fables Indiennes, de Bidpai et de Lokman, tra- 
duites D*Ali Tchelebi-Ben-Saleh, Auteur Turc. Oeuvre posthume, 
par M. Galiand.'* The words " et de Lokman** in this title I 
suspect to have been added by the Bookseller, for I cannot find 
any thing of Lokman in the work itself. Perhaps M. Galland 
might have intended to annex the fables of Lokman, but was pre- 
vented by death. For the rest, there is no material difference 
between this Edition and a former French version, which was 
made from the Persic and printed in 1698 ; except in the style. 
They both differ very considerably from the Greek. 


very early translated into French verse. In an old 
copy, Ms. Reg. 16 E. VIll. the Translation is en- 
titled " Proverbes Peres Anforse/^ and there is a 
short introduction by the Translator, in which he 
says, " Foil Peres Anfors translatev" — In a later 
copy, Ms. Bod, 1687. the introduction is omitted, 
but the poem is entitled " le romaunz Peres Aun- 
four content il aprist et chastia sun Jils belement*' — 
In another copy Ms. Harl. 4388. there is neither in- 
troduction not title ; so that, by the mere omissions 
of transcribers, the French translation has put on 
the appearance of an original work, and is quoted 
as such by M. le Comte de Caylus in his Memoire 
sur les Fabliaux [Acad, des Ins. t. xx. p. 361.] un- 
der the general title of Le chastoiement du pere au 
Jils, The fable of the Sheep, of which M. de Caylus 
has there given an abstract, is in the Latin Alfon- 
sus, Fab. ix. I will add, that the same fable, in the 
Cento Novelle Antiche, N. xxx. is fathered upon uno 
novellatore di Messer Azzolino ; and Cervantes, chang- 
ing the Sheep for Goats, has put it into the mouth 
of Sancho. Don Quix. P. I.e. xx. Cervantes indeed 
has also altered the application of it, but, I think, 
not for the better. 

I will just take notice, that one of the &bles in the Greek, 
p. 444, has been inserted (but with great variations) by Matthew 
Paris in his History, ad ann, 1195. as a Parable, which Richard I, 
after his return from the East, was used frequently to relate ingra- 
tos redargiiendo. 


I am inclined to believe that Hebers, the author 
or translator of the French romance called Dolopa* 
tosy in the beginning of the XIII th Century, had 
read this work of Alfonsus, perhaps before it was 
translated into French. The story of the Hone 
thrown into the tuellf Decameron, vii. 4. which Fau- 
chet supposes Boccace to have taken from Heberi, 
is in Alfonsus, Fab. xi« It is not in the Greek Syfh 
tipa9 f, which 1 imagine to to have been the ground- 

t The only copy which I hare ever seen of Syntiptu is in Ms. 
HarU 5560. I should guess that it agreed in substance with that 
which Du Cange made use of in his Glotsarium Med. et Inf, Grcct- 
tatis [|See his Index Auctanim, p. 33.], though it seems to be of a 
later age, and in a mure depraved dialect. They difi^r in this, 
that the Harleian copy is «aid to have been translated from die 
Penic Inyro irtfftoMiis fi*6\ti §ie FwfuSxnw yhMrlcv], and Du Gauge's 
from the Syriac [oro 2uptaxnc /8i§X(i, wg •tyjut oculoug X«|<riy, tte 
T1IV EXXaSa yXwrTav]. However, I would not vouch that it really 
was translated either from the Persic or Syriac. Among the 
Oriental Mss. in the Bodleian Dbrary, the Catalogue mentions one 
in Turkish [Rawlinson, 31.] De uaure Cht^Stmi TWcorum rcgiit et 
fiUOf which 1 suspect to contain the same story, translated perhaps 
from the Greek, pr from the Italian Erasto, 

Syntipas is said to have been printed at Venice, linguA Graci 
vulgari. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. x. 515. How far that Edition may 
agree with the Harleian Ms. I cannot say, having never seen it. 
To judge by the Ms. only, it seems probable, that, if Syntipas was 
the ground-work of the Dolopatos, Hebers must have departed as 
much from his original, as the succeeding compilers of Let sept 
Sages and of Erasto have from Hebers. Neither the story men- 
tioned in the text, nor the two others, which Fauchet refers to as 


work of the Dolopatos, and therefore I presmne that 
it was inserted by Hebers (or the monk, whose La- 
tin he translated) and possibly from Alfonsus. At 
least it is not more probable that Boccace should 
take it from Hebers than from Alfonsus, with whose 
work he appears to have been well acquainted. One 
of his novels, Decam. vii. 6. is plainly copied from 
thence, Fab. viii. and his celebrated novel of the 

tsommed by Boccace from Hebers, viz. Dceam. iii. 2. and viii. 8. 
are to be found in the Ms. Syniipas. On the other band, the story 
in the Decam. vii. 6. which is said in the text to be probably 
copied from Alfonsus, is also in Syntipas, though, from the silence 
of Fauchet, we may presume that it was not in the Dolopatos, 

The Plan of Syntipas is exactly the same with that of Les sept 
sages, the Italian Erasto, the French Eraste, and our own Uttle 
story-book, the seven wise masten, except that, instead of Dioelesian 
d Borne, the King is called Cynis of Persia, and, instead of one 
tale, each of the Philosophers telk two. This last circnmstanoe is 
an argument, I think, for the originality of Syntipas ; and another 
may be drawn from the insipidiiy of the greatest part of the tales. 
The only one of them, which, as I remember, is retained in the 
modem Erastus, is that of the Knight, who in a fit of groundless 
passion killed a faithful dog. Eraste, ch. viii. It is phiinly bor- 
rowed from a story in the Catilah u Damnah, p. 339. of the Greek 
translation, though there, instead of a dog, the animal is called 
Jfvftfyi, by some mistake, as I suspect, of the translator. 

There is a translation of this Romance in Englbh octasyllable 
verse, not later than Cbancer's time, as I imagine, in Ms. Cotton. 
<7alba. £. ix. It is entitled, " The proces of the seven sages,'' and 
agrees exactly with Les set sages de Bvnm in French Prose in Ms. 
Harl. 3860. 


two friends, Tito and Gisippo, Decani, x. 8. is hot- 
rowed, with hardly any variation, except in the 
names of persons and places, from the 2d of Alfon- 
sus, or, which is the same thing, from the Gesta 
Romanoruml, into which collection, after a time, 

X The title in the printed copies is " £x gestu Bomanonun 
historie notabiles collecte ; de vicib virtutibusque tractantes; cam 
applicatioDibb moraiisatis et mysticis." I'he author of thb strange 
work is quite unknown, nor is it easy to fix with precisicm the time 
of its composition. Upon the whole I ha^e no doubt that it is of a 
later date than Alfonsus, viz. the beginning of the XJIth Century, 
and I should guess that it was composed about the ^id of that 
Century, or the beginning of the Xlllth. 

Three couplets of English verses in ch. 68. and some EngUsk 
names in ch. 128. which are to he found in several old Mss. (the 
former chapter being there numbered liii. and the latter zxviii) 
though they have been left out of the Editions, afibrd a reasonable 
ground for conjecturing, that one of our own countrymen was the 

As it continued to be a populai* book at the time of the inven- 
tion of Printing, it was very early put to the Press, aad several 
Editions of it were published in different places before the year 
1500. The earliest editions that I have seen agree together ex- 
actly, and contain 152 Chapters. The edition at Rouen in 1521 
contains 181 Chapters, the History of Apollonius Tyrius bdng the 
first of the additional chapters. [See Discourse, &c. n. 16.] In 
Mss. Harl. 2270. and 5259. which are both seemingly complete, 
the number of chapters does not exceed 102 ; and yet notwith- 
standing there are so many more stories in the printed books, there 
are still several in the Mss. which, I apprehend, have never been 
printed. [See a note upon the plot of Shakespeare's Merchant tf 


almost all the best fables of Alfonsus were incor- 

Venice, with the signature of T. T. vol. iii. p. !224. and an addition 
to it in Appendix, ii. See also a note of Mr. Farmer's in the same 
Appendix, where he mentions his having found the story of the 
casket " in an old translation of the Gesta Romanorum first printed 
by Wmkin de Worde," As he says nothing of the story cf the 
Bend, we may presume (from the known accuracj^ of Mr. Farmer's 
researches) that it is not contained in that translation.] 

It has been said above, that several of the iables in the Gesta 
Remanorum are taken from Alfonsus. The author has also bor« 
rowed from the Calilah u Damnah, by the help, I suppose, of some 
Latin translation firom the Greek of Symeon Seth. The originals 
of the greatest part of his stories are not so easy to be traced. I 
speak of those which are found in the Mss. ', for of those in the 
Editt. many are plainly taken from well known authors, some of 
which are quoted by name, as Anius Gellins, Macrobius, Angus* 
tinus^ Qervasius Tilberiensis, and others. 

I will add here a few instances, which occur to me at present, of 
stories, which writers of the XlVth Century have (or rather may 
have) borrowed from the Gesta B/manorum ; for, in some of these 
instances, it is possible that they may have had recourse to the 
very books, from which the compiler of that work drew his mate- 
rials. I shall cite the chapters as they are numbered in the Edition 
of 1521 and in Ms. HarL 2270. Where reference is made to only 
one of these, it should be understood that I have not observed that 
story in the other. 

Ch. viii. (Ms. 96) is copied by Gower, Cor^, Am, B. v. fol. 122* 
b. — Ch. Ivii, (Ms. 16.) this story is in the Cento Novelle Antiche, 
N- vi. — Ch. Ixi. is in Gower, Conf. Am, B. iii. fol. 54. — Ch. 
Ixxxix. This is the story of The three rings, which has been said 
(but, I tliink, without any reason) to have been of use to Swift in 
his Tale of a tub. It is in the C. N. A. Nov, Ixxi. and in the De- 


This last circumstance, though certainly very 
honourable to Alfonsus, has been very prejudical to 
his fame. For instance, a translation, as 1 suppose, 
of his last mentioned story of the two friends is en- 

Cameron, 1. 3. — Cb. ciz. There is a great similitude between this 
story and one which is told in the C. N. A. Nov, Ixt.' and in the 
Decameron, x. 1. See also Gower, Conf, Am, B. v. £aJ. 96* 7^— 
Ch. cxviii. is from Alfonsus. It is repeated in the C. N. A. N«. 
Izxsiv. — Ch. cxix. Ms. 10!9!.) has been versified by Gower, Conf* 
Am* B. ▼. fol, 110. b. It has been mentioned in Note * as tdkea 
originally from the Sapientia ludorum, p. 444.«— Ch. cxziv. (Ma. 
90.) makes the last Novel of the C. N. A. — Ch. clviL makes the 
Lth Novel of the C. N. A. but it may have been taken from Al- 
fimsos. — Ch. clxxi. (Ms. 55.) is the story of The two friends, mea- 
tioned in the text. — Ch. 48. Ms. contains the story of The catkettt 
and Ch. 99. -Ms. that of 7 he bond, the two principal Incidents ia 
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. It is said in the additkaial note, 
App. ii. Shakespeare Edit. 1773. that Ser Ghvaami had ** work- 
ed np these two stories into one, as they are in the Play." Bat 
that is a mistake, which I beg leave to retract here. The Novel 
of Ser Giovanni [Pecorone, Giom. iv. Nov* 1.] is founded only apoa 
the Story of The bond. It is probable therefore that Sbdwspeare 
took the Story of The caskets from the English Gesta Ramanarum 
and ingrafted it upon the other. — Ch. 98. Ms. is oopied vrifh very 
little alteration in the C. N. A. Nov* ixviii. 

Many more stories in Gower, which seem to be founded upon 
antient History, will appear upon examination to be taken ftom 
this book. It would lead me too far to pardcukitiae those which 
Lydgate, Occleve, and other later vmten have borrowed from it 
I will only mention, for the credit of the ooUection, that Ch. hxx. 
contains the complete foble of Pameli's Hermit, 


titled, in a Ms. of LydLgate, belonging to the late Dr. 
Askew, " a Tale of two Marchants of Egypt aisi of 
BaMad, ex Gestis Romanorum'* [Mr. Farmer's Notes 
on the Merch. of Ven. Shakespearo Edit. 17f 3. App. 
ii.], as if the Tale had iirst appeajned in that work. 
However somebody, not lo»g after the inrention of 
Printing, as I guess, did a little more justice to Al- 
fonsus, by putting together bis principal Tales, and 
inserting them, with his name, in a collection of tihe 
fables of iEsop and other eminent fabulists in Laitin. 
This collectiofi was soon turned into French ; and 
from that Versioa Caxtoa made the Irasislation into 
English, which has been mentioned in the Discourse 
&c. n. 2Q, Oaxtoa's book has been xeprinted more 
than once, i have seen an EditEiHi of it in 1647, 
and I doiiist whether there ias been one sioce. 

P. 90. 1. 5. For it is written i&ic.] What is ia^ 
dvded between hooks is wan>ttiig ia all the Mss. 
wifieh I have examined. It is plainly aeoessary to 
the sense, ^ it shews us vwhat ihe fourth cmdj^^ 
reamyns of Melius were, to wl^ick Prsdence repliee 
in p. 92, 3. i have therefore inserted as literal a 
translation as I imagine Obaucer might have made 
of the following passage in the French MeUb4e, Ms. 
Reg, 19 C. vii. Car il est escripty la genglerie det 
famnes ne puet riens -ceUer fors ce qu'eUe «e scet. 
Apres le pkilosi^hre dit, en mawoais conseU lesfemmes 
tMomquent les kommes^y et par ces rakot^ je ne doi$ 
point user de ton conseil. 


P. 101. 1. 7. A vise thee well] He refers, I pre- 
sume, to Cato, L. iii. Dist. 6. 

Sermones blandos bleesosque cavere memento. 
P. 104. 1. 11. Assay to doswiche thinges] This 
precept of Cato is in L. iii. Dist. 16. 

Quod potes id tentato ; operis ne pondere pres- 

Succumbat labor, et frustra tentata relinquas. 
P. 111. 1. 20. If thou have nede] Cato, L. iv. 
Dist. J 4. 

Auxilium a notis petito, si forte laboras ; 
Ncc quisquam melior medicus quam fidus ami- 
P. 113. 1. 10. som men &c.] This passage, which 
is defective in all the Mss. I have patched up, as 
well as I coud, by adding the words between hooks 
from the French MeUb^e, where it stands thus. Ju- 
cunes gens otit enseigne leur decevour^ car ils ont trop 
doubte que on ne leg deceust, Apres tu te dois garder 
de venim, et H te dois garder de convpaignie de mo- 
queurs, car U est escript^ Avec les moqueurs n'aies com- 
paignicy etjuy leurs paroles comme le venim, 

P. 121.1. 9. of the trespasours] The following 
passage, which the reader will see to be very mate- 
rial to the sense, I have translated from the French, 
and inserted between hook$, as before. Et a ce 
respont dame Prudence. Certes, dist elle, le t*ottroye 
que de vengeance vietit molt de maulx et de MenSy mais 


'jengeance n*appartient pas a un chascun, fors seule- 
ment auxjuges et a ceulx qui ont lajuridicion sur les 
majfaiteurs — 

P. 125. 1. 15. If a man of higher estat] This pru- 
dent advice is from Cato, L. iv. Dist. 40. 

Cede locum leesus, fortunce cede potenti [f. po- 

Leedere qui potuit, prodesse aliquando valebit. 
P. 130. 1. 14. Ifanetherdesdoughter] TheEditt. 
have strangely corrupted this into — a nerthes dough- 
ter. The reading, which I have restored from the 
Mss. is confirmed by the original passage in Pam- 
philus. Ms. Bod. 3703. 

Dummodo sit dives cujusdam nata hubulci, 
Eligit e mille quern libet ilia virum. 
P. 183. I. 9. Waketh &cJ] I can find nothing 
nearer to this in Cato, than the maxim, L. iii. Dist. 
7. Segnitiem fugito, — For the quotations from the 
same author in the following page. 1. 10 and 15. 
See L. iv. Dist. 17. and L. iii. Dist. 23. 

Ver. 13898, corpus Madrian] The relicks of St. 
Maternus, Gloss. Urr. But I can find no such saint 
in the common Legendaries. 

Ver. 13948. A right wel faring] I have no better 
authority for the insertion of right than Eld. Urr. 

Ver. 13968. lussheburghes] Base coins, proba- 
bly, first imported, as Skinner thinks, from Luxem- 
bourg. They aie mentioned in the Stat. 25. E. III. 



c. 2. la monoie appelle, Lucynbourg, and in P. P. fol. 
82. b. 

As in lushburgh is a luther alay, yet loketh like 
Ver. 14013. in the feld of Damascene] So Lyd- 
gate, from Boccace, speaks of Adam and Eve. Trag. 

B. i. c. 1. 

Of slime of the erth in Damascene thefelde 
God made them above ech creature. 
Boccace is much longer in relating their story , which 
is the first of his Tragedies. 

Ver. 140^1. Sapapson] His tragedy is also in 
Boccace. B. i. c. 19. but our author seems rather to 
have followed the original, Judges xiv, xv, xvi. 

Ver. 14080. the queme] The miU, Kuerna, mola. 

Ver. 14101. Hercules] In this account of the la- 
bours of Hercules Chaucer has evidently copied 
Boethius, L. iv. Met. 7. Many of the expressions he 
had used before in his prose translation of that au- 

Ver. 1411.6. the hevene on his nekke longe] ' This 
is the reading of the best Mss. and is agreable to 
Boethius, loc. dt thus translated by Chaucer. ^' And 
the last of his labors was, that fie sustemed the he- 
ven upon his necke unbowed." The margin of Ms* 

C. 1. explains longe to mean diu. 
The Editt. read, 


And bare his hed upon his spere long. 
Ver. 14123. saith Trophee] As all the best Mss. 
agree in this reading, I have retained it, though I 
cannot tell what author is alluded to. The margin 
of C. 1, has this note. Ille votes Chaldaorum Tro- 

The Editt. read — -for trophee, — 
Ver. 14149. Nabuchodonosor] For this history, 
and the following of Balthasar, see Daniel, i — v. 
The latter only is related by Boccace, B. ii. c. xxiii. 
Ver. 14253. Zenobia] Her story is told by Boc- 
cace, De COS. Fir, L^ viii. c, 7. but more at large in 
his book De Claris mulieribus ; from which our au- 
thor has plainly taken almost every circumstance of 
his narration; though in ver. 14331. he seems to re- 
fer to Petrarch as his original. Perhaps, Boccace's 
book had fallen into Chaucer's hands under the 
name of Petrarch. 

Ver, X4295. TUl fully fourty dayes] There is a 
confusion in this passage, which might have been 
avoided, if our author had recurred to Trebellius 
Ppllio, Trig. Tyrann. c. xxix. de Zenobia. " Quum 
semel concubuisset, expectatis menstruis, contine- 
bat se si preegnans esset; sin minus, iterum potes- 
tatem queerendis liberis dabat." 

Ver. 14378. a vitremite] This word is differently 
written in the Mss. vitrymite ; witermite ; wintermite-, 
vitryte. The Editt. read, autremite ; which is equally 


Ver. 14385. south and septentrioun] The Mss. 
read norths but there can be no doubt of the pro- 
priety of the correction, which was first made, I be- 
heve, in Ed. Urr. In the Rom. de la R. from whence 
great part of this tragedy of Nero is translated, the 
passage stands thus, ver. 6501. 
Ce desloyal, que je te dy, 
Et d'Orient et de Midy, 
D'Occident, de Septentrion, 
Tint-il la jurisdicion. 
Ver. 14408. domesman] Judge. The word in 
Boethius, who has also related this story, is Cemor. 
L. ii. Met. vi. 

Ora non tinxit lacrymis, sed esse 
Censor extincti potuit decoris — 
which our author has thus rendered in his prose ver- 
sion. " Ne no tere wette his face, but he was so 
harde herted, that he might be domesman, or judge^ 
of her dedde beau tee." 

Ver. 14484. Wher Eliachim] I cannot find any 
priest of this name in the book of Judith. The 
High priest of Jerusalem is called Joacim in c. iv« 
which name would suit the verse better than Elia- 

Ver. 14493. Antiochus] This Tragedy is a poe- 
tical paraphrase of II Maccabees, c. ix. 

Ver. 14638. word and ende] Dr. Hickes in his 
Gr. A. S. p. 70. has proposed to read " ord and end," 
both here and in Tro. B. v. ver. 1668. He has shewn 


very clearly that ord and end was a common Saxon 
expression for the whole of a thing ; the beginning 
and end of it. But all the Mss. that I have ex- 
amined read wordy and therefore I have left it in the 
text, as possibly the old Saxon phrase, in Chaucer's 
time, might have been corrupted. 

Ver. 14645. Cresus] In the opening of this story, 
our' author has plainly copied the following passage 
of his own version of Boethius, B. ii. Pro. 9,. " Wiste 
thou not how Cresus, king of Lydiens, of whiche king 
Cyrus wasful sore agaste a litel before, &c." But the 
greatest part is taken from the Rom, de la R. ver. 

Ver. 14679. Tragedie is] This reflection seems 
to have been suggested by one which follows soon 
after the mention of Croesus in the passage just 
cited from Boethius. " What other thing bewaylen 
the cryinges of tragedyes but onely the dedes of 
fortune, that with an aukewarde stroke overtourneth 
the realmes of grete nobleye ?" 

Ver. 14685. Peter of Spaine] This tragedie and 
the three following, in several Mss. are inserted be- 
fore, after ver. 14380. So that the Menkes- Tale 
ends with ver. 14684. 

And cover hire bright face with a cloude. 
In favour of this arrangement, it may be observed, 
that, when the Monk is interrupted, the Hoste . al- 
ludes to this line as fresh in his memory, ver. 14788> 


He spake how fortune covered with a cUntde 
1 wote not what, and als of a tragedie 
Right now yfe herd. — 
Where tragedie may be supposed to allude to ver. 

On the other hand, though the Monk professedly 
disregards chronological order, these very modem 
stories in the midst of the ancient make an aukward 
appearance ; and as the Hoste declares himself to 
have been half asleep, he may very well be stip- 
posed to speak from a confused recollection of what 
had been said 88 verses before. And what he says 
of tragedie may be referred to ver. 14768. 

I have followed the order observed in the best 
Mss. C. i. Ask. 1. 2. HA. 

Ver. 14697. Not Charles Oliver] Not the Oliver 
of Charles [Charlemagne], butanOliver of Armorica^ 
a second Genelon, or Ganelon. See ver. 13124. 
1 5233. So this passage is to be understood, which in 
Ed. Urr. has been changed to — Not Chatles, ne 
Oliver. — But who this Oliver of Bretagne was, whom 
our author charges as werker of the' death of King 
Petro, is not so clear. According to Mariana, L. xvii. 
c. 13. such a charge might most properly be brought 
against Bertrand du Gruesclin, a Breton, afterwards 
Constable of France ; as it was in consequence of a 
private treaty with him, that Petro came to his tent, 
where he was killed by his brother Henry, and 


partly as (some said) con ayuda de Beltran. But 
how he should come to be called Oliver I cannot 
guess ; unless, perhaps, Chaucer confounded him 
with Olivier de Clisson, another famous Breton of 
those times, who was also Constable of France after 
Bertrand. [Froissart mentions an Olivier de Manny ^ 
nephew to Bertrand du Guesclin, as receiving large 
rewards from King Heniy ; vol. i. ch. 245. but he 
does not represent him as particularly concerned in 
the death of Petro.] 

The person meant, whoever he was, must have 
been sufficiently pointed out at the time by his coat 
of arms, which is described in ver. 14693,4. The 
" egle of blak" in " a feld of snow" is plain enough, 
but the rest of the blazonry I cannot pretend to 

Ver. 14701. Petro King of Cypre] Concerning 
the taking of Alexandria by this prince, and his 
other exploits, see the note on ver. 51. and the au- 
thors there cited. He was assassinated in 1369. 
Acad, des Ins. T. xx. p. 439. 

Ver. 14709. Barnabo Viscount] Bernabo Visconti 
Duke of Milan, was deposed by his nephew and 
thrown into prison, where he died in 1385. 

I did not attend to this circumstance, when I stated 
the insurrection of Strawe in 1381, as the latest 
historical fact mentioned in these tales. Discourse 
&c. n. 6. The death of Bernabo was certainly later. 
Fortunately however this difference of four years 


has no other consequence, than. that it makes the 
supposed date of the Pilgrimage in 1383, which was 
before very doubtful, still more improbable. The 
Knight might as probably be upon a Pilgrimage in 
1387 as in 1383, according to the precedent of Sir 
Mathew de Gourney. See note on ver. 43. 

Ver. 14716. Hugelin of Pise] Chaucer himself 
has referred us to Dante for the original of this 
tragedy. See Inferno, c, xxxiii. 

Ver. 14765, 6. These two verses in the Editt. have 
been transposed, to the confusion of the sense as 
well as of the metre. 

Ver. 14811. say somwhat of hunting] For the 
propriety of this request, see the note on ver. 166 

of the Menkes Character. 


Ver. 14816. thou Sire John] I know not how it 
has happened, that, in the principal modern lan- 
guages, John (or its equivalent) is a name of con- 
tempt, or at least of slight. So the Italians use 
Giannif from whence Zani ; the Spaniards Jiian, as 
Bobo Juan, a foolish John ; the French Jean, with 
various additions ; and in English, when we call a 
man a John, we do not mean it as a title of honour. 
Chaucer in ver. 3708. uses Jacke fool, as the Spa- 
niards do Bobo Juan ; and I suppose Jack ass has 
the same etymology. 

The title of Sire was usually given, by courtesy, 
to Priests, both secular and regular. 

Ver. 14851. a maner dey] A kind of derj ; but 


what a dey was, it is not easy to determine precisely. 
It is mentioned, as the last species^ of labourers in 
husbandry, in the Stat. 25 Edw. III. St. i. c. 1. Qe 
chescun charetter, caruer, chaceour des carues, ber- 
cher, porcher, deye, & tous autres servantz. — And 
again in the Stat. 37 Edw. III. c. 14. Item qe 
charetters, charuers, chaceours des carues, hovers, 
vachers, berchers, porchers, deyes, & tous autres 
gardeins des bestes, bateurs des bleez, & toutes 
maneres des genz d*estate de gars(m entendantz a 
husbandrle. — It probably meant originally a day- 
labourer in general, though it may since have been 
used to denote particularly the superintendant of a 
Dayerie. See Du Cange, in v. Daeria. Dateria. 

Ver. 14857. the ipery orgon] This is put licen- 
tiously for orgons, or organs. It is plain from gon in 
the next line that Chaucer meant to use this word 
as a Plural, from the Lat. Gr. Organa. He uses 
it so in ver. 15602. 

And while that the organs maden melodic. 
Ver. 14876. Was cleped faire damoselle Pertelote] 
I suspect that faire has been added by some one who 
was unnecessarily alarmed for the metre. 

After this verse the Editt. (except Ca. 1 .) have the 
two following. 

He fethered her a hundred times a day, 
And she him pleaseth all that ever she may. 


But as I found them in only two Mss. HA. and D. 
I was glad to leave them out as an injudicious in- 
terpolation. See below, ver. 15183. 

Whoever wishes to see a great deal of uncertain 
etymology concerning the name Pertelotey may con- 
sult Gl. V. in V. Partelot. 

Ver. 14H81. loken in every lith] Locked in every 
limb. The Editt. read loking, Loken is used by 
Occleve, in the first of his poems mentioned above 
in n. on ver. 5002. 

Lefte was the Erles chamber dore unstoken, 
To which he came, and fonde it was not loketL 
Ver. 14885. My lefe is fare in lond] Fare, or 
faren; gone. So the best Mss. Ed. Ca. 2. reads^- 
fer. It is not easy to determine which of these is 
the true reading, unless we should recover the old 
song, from which this passage seems to be quoted. 
Ver. 14914. Away, quod she] I have here inad- 
trertently followed the printed copies. But instead 
•of Jway the best Mss. read Avoy, which is more 
likely to have been used by Chaucer. The word 
occurs frequently in the French Fabliaux &c. See 
T. ii. p. 243, 5. The Vocabulary, at the end of 
that volume, renders Avoi, Helas ; but it seems to 
signify no more than our Away ! The Italians use 
Via ! in the same manner. Roman de Troye. Ms. 
Lors dit Thoas, Avoi, avoi. 
Sire Achilles, vous dites mal 


Ver. 14946. Lo Caton] L. ii. Dist. 32. Somnia 
ne cures. I observe, by the way, that this distich 
is quoted by John of Salisbury, Polycrat. L. ii, c. 
16. as a precept viri sapientis. In another place, 
L. vii. c. 9. he introduces his quotation of the first 
verse of Dist. 20. L. iii. in this manner. Ait vel 
Cato, vel aliusy nam autor incertus est — . 

Ver. 14971. Catapuce] Catapuzza, Ital. Cata" 
puccy Fr. a kind of Spurge. 

Ver. 14990, On of the gretest authors] Cicero \de 
Dimn. L. i. c. 27.] relates this and the following 
stdry ; but in a contrary order; and with so many 
other di^rences, that one might be led to suspect 
that he was here quoted at second hand, if it were 
not usual with Chaucer, in these stories of familiar 
life> to throw in a number of natural circumstances^ 
not to be found in liis original authors. 

Ver. 15116. Seint Kenelme See his life in all the 
Editt. of the English Golden Legende. 

Ver. 15147. Lo hire Andromacha] We must not 
look for this dream of Andromache in Homer. The 
first author who relates it is the fictitious Dares, c. 
xxiv. and Chaucer very probably took it from him, 
or from Guido de Columnis ; or perhaps from "Be- 
noit de Saiinte More, whose Roman de Troye I be- 
lieve to have been that History of Dares, which 
Guido professes to follow, and has indeed almost 
entirely translated. A ^11 discul^sion of this point, 


by a comparison of Guido's work with the Roman 
de Troye, would require more time and pains than 
I am inclined to bestow upon it. I will just men- 
tion a circumstance, which, if it can be verified, will 
bring the question to a much shorter decision. The 
Versio Dareiis Phrygii Gallico metro, in the Ambro- 
sian Library, of which Montfaucon speaks, Dior, 
Ital. p. 19. is undoubtedly the Roman de Troye by 
Benoit de Sainte More. The verses, which are 
there quoted, differ no otherwise from the begin- 
ning of Benoit's Poem in Ms. HarL 4482. than as 
an old copy usually does from a more modem one. 
If therefore we can depend upon Montfaucon's 
judgement, that the Ms. which he saw was written 
in the xiith Century, it will follow, that Benoit 
wrote near a hundred years before Guide, whose 
work, in all the Mss. that I have seen or heard of,, 
is uniformly said to have been finished in the year 
1^87. There can be no doubt that the later of these 
two writers copied from the former. 

Ver. 16169. so siker as In principw] See the note 
on ver. 256. 

The next line is taken from the fabulous confer- 
ence between the Emperour Adrian and Secundus 
the Philosopher, of which some account has been 
given in n. on ver. 6777. Quid est mulier ? Homi- 
nis confusio, insaturabilis bestia &c. 

Ver. 15196. Sithen March ended] I have ven- 


tured to depart from the Mss. and Editt. in this pas- 
sage. They all read began instead of ended. At 
the same time Ms. C. 1. has this note in the margin, 
" i, 2° die Maii." which plainly supposes that the 
32 days are to be reckoned from the end of March. 
As the Vernal Equinox (according to our author's 
hypothesis, Discourse &c. p. 103) happened on the 
1 2th of March, the place of the sun (as described 
in ver. 15200,1) in 22** of Taurus agrees very nearly 
with his true place on the 2d of May, the 53d day 
incl. from the Equinox. Ms. C. reads thus, 

Syn March began tway monthes and dayes two ; 
which brings us to the same day, but, I think, by a 
less probable correction of the faulty copies. 

Ver. 15205. Twenty degrees] The reading of the 
greatest part of the Mss. is Fourty degrees. But 
that is evidently wrong ; for Chaucer is speaking of 
the altitude of the Sun at, or about. Prime, i. e. six 
o'clock A. M. See ver. 15203. When the Sun is in 
22** of Taurus, he is 21* high about f after 6 A, M. 

Ver. 15215. At the side of this verse is written in 
the margin of Ms. C. Petrus ComestoTy to intimate, I 
suppose, that this maxim is to be found in the His- 
toria Scholastica of that author, who was a celebrated 
commentator on the Bible in the xiith Century. See 
Fabricius, Bib. Med. ^tat. in v. 

Ver. 15221. A col fox] Skinner interprets this a 
blackish fox, as if it were a cole fox. Gl. Urr. It is 


much easier to refute this interpretation than to 
assign the true one. Coll appears from ver. ] 5389 
to have been a common name for a dog. In com- 
position, it is to be taken in malam partem, but in 
what precise sense I cannot say. See Chaucer's 
H. of F. B. iii. 187. Coll-tragetour — and in the Mirr. 
for Mag. Leg. of Glendour, fol. 127. b. Colprophet 
is plainly put for a false, lying prophet. Hey wood 
has an Epigram 0/ coleprophet. Cent. vi. £p. S9. 
Thy prophesy poysonly to the pricke goth : 
Coleprophet and colepoyson thou art both. 
And in his Proverbial Dialogues P. i. ch. x. he has 
the following lines. 

Coll under canstyk she can plaie on both hands : 
Dissimulation well she understands. 
I will add an allusion of our author, in the Test, of 
Love, 6. ii. fol. cccxxxiii. b. to a story of one Collo, 
which I cannot explain. '* Busiris slewe his gestes, 
and he was slain of Hercules his geste. Hugest 
betrayshed many men, and of CoZ^ was he betrayed." 
Ver. 15240. But what that God] This passage 
has been translated into (rs^ther elegant) Latin Iam- 
bics by Sir H. Savil, in his preface to Bradwardin, 
de causd Dei, Lond. 1618. See the Testimonies &c. 
prefixed to Ed. Urr. Our au^or has discussed this 
question of the divine prescience &c. more at large 
in his Troilus, B. 4. from ver. 957 to ver. 1078. It 
is an addition of his own, of which there is no trace 


in the Philostrato of Boccace. See Essay &c. n. 62. 
Ver. 15277. Phisiologus] He alludes, I suppose, 
to a book in Latin metre, entitled, Physiologus de 
naturis xii animaliumy by one Theobaldus, whose 
age is not known. Fabr. Bib. Med. JEX, in v. Theo- 
baldus. There is a copy of this work in Ms. HarL 
3093. in which the ixth section De Sirenis begins 
thus : 
Sirenee sunt monstra maris resonantia magnis 
Vocibus et modulis cantus formantia multis, 
Ad quas incaute veniunt s^pissime nautee, 
Quae faciunt sompnum nimia dulcedine vocum &c. 
See also R. R. ver. 680. 

Ver. 15318. in Dan Bumell the asse] The story 
alluded to is in a poem of. Nigel Wireker, entitled, 
BumelluSy sen Speculum stultorum, written in the 
time of Richard I. The substance of the story is in 
Gl. Urr. V. Burnel. The Poem itself is in most 
collections of Mss. The .printed copies are more 
rare, though there have been several editions of it. 
See Leyser, Hist. Po, Med, j^vi, p. 752,3. 
~^ ^Bumell is used as a nickname for the ass in the 
Chester Whitsun Playes. Ms. HarL 2013. [See the 
noti on ver. 3539.] In the pageant of Balaam, he 
Go forth, Bumell, go forth, go. 
What ? the devil, my asse will not go. 
and again, fol. 36. b. 


Bumell, why begilest thou me ? 
The original word was, probably, Brunell, from his 
brown colour; as the Fox below, ver. J 5340. is 
called Russell, from his red colour, I suppose. 

Ver. 15341. by the gargat] The Edi};t. have chang- 
ed this into gorget ; but gargat is an old Fr. word. 
Rom de Rou, Ms. Reg, 4. C. xi. 

O grant culteals e od granz cuignees . 
Lur unt les gargates trenchies. 
Ver. 15353. O Gaufride] He alludes to a passage 
in the Nova Poetria of Geoffrey de Vinsauf, pub- 
lished not lonor after the death of Richard I. In 
this work the author has not only given instructions 
for composing in the different styles of Poetry, but 
also examples. His specimen of the plaintive kind 
of composition begins thus : 

Neustria, sub clypeo regis defensa Ricardi, 
Indefensa modo, gestu testare dolorem. 
Exundent oculi lacrymas : extenninet ora 
Pallor ; connodet digitos tortura ; cruentet 
Interiora dolor, et verberet sethera clamor : 
Tota peris ex morte snk. Mors non fuit ejus, 
Sed tua ; non una, sed publica mortis origo. 
O Veneris lacrymosa dies ! o sydus amarum ! 
Ilia dies tua nox fuit, et Venus ilia venenum. 
Ilia dedit vulnus, &c. 
These lines are sufficient to shew the object, 
and the propriety, of Chaucer's ridicule. The 


whole poem is printed in Leyser's Hist, Po, Med. 
JEvi, p. 862—978. 

Ver. 15451. As sayth my Lord] Opposite to this 
verse, in the Margin of Ms. C. 1. is written " Kan- 
t'uar," which means, I suppose, that some Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury is quoted. 

Ver. 15468. Sayd to another] I have observed, 
in the Discourse, &c. § xxxvii. that in Mss. Ask. 
] . 2. this line is read thus, 

Seide unto the nunne as ye shul heer. 
The following are the six forged lines, which the 
same Mss. exhibit by way of introduction to the 
Nonnes tale. 

Madame, and 1 dorste, I wolde you pray 

To telle a tale in fortheringe of our way. 

Than mighte ye do unto us grete ese. 

Gladly, sire, quoth she, so that I might plese 

You and this worthy company, 

And began hir tale riht thus ful sobrely. 
Ver. 15514. out of relees] All the best Mss. con- 
cur in this reading, and therefore I have followed 
them, though I confess that I do not clearly under- 
stand the phrase ; unless perhaps it mean without 
release; without being ever released from their duty. 
The common reading withouten lees is a genuine 
Saxon phrase. Butan leas ; absque f also : without a lie. 
Ver. 15518. Assembled is] This stanza is very 
like one in the Prioresses tale. ver. 13403 — 13410, 



Ver. 15530. Sone of Eve] See the Discourse^ &c. 
§ xxxvii. n. 30. 

Ver. 15536. Be thou min advocat] I ha^e no 
better authority for the insertion of tfum than Ed. 
Urr. The metre, perhaps, might be safe without it 
(considering highe as a dissyllable), but the verse 
would be very rough. 

Ver. 15553. First wol I] The note upon this in 
the Margin of Ms. C. 1. is — " Interpretatio &c. 
quam ponit Prater Jacobus Januensis in Legendd 
aured" It haS been observed in the Discourse, &c. 
that this whole tale is almost literally translated 
from the Legenda aurea. 

Ver. 15654. louting] i. latttantem. Marg Ms. C. 
1. from the Sax luian^ or lutian; latere. 

Ver. 15675. On Lord, on faith] 1 have adopted 
this reading in preference to that of the best Mss. — 
O Lord, o faith, o God &c. — -in order to guard 
against the mistake, which the Editt. have generally 
fallen into, of considering o, in this passage, as the 
sign of the vocative case. On and o are used in- 
differently by Chaucer to signify one, 

Ver. 15738. And of the miracle] I should have 
been glad to have met with any authority for leav- 
ing out this parenthesis of fourteen lines, which 
interrupts the narration so aukwardly, and to so 
little purpose. The substance of it is in the printed 
Editions of the Latin Legenda aurea, but appears 


evidently to hav^ been at first a marginal observa- 
tion, and to have crept into the text by the blunder 
of some copyist. Accordingly it is wanting in 
Caxton's Golden Lege7ide, and, I suppose, in the 
French Legende Dor^e, from which he translated. 
The author of the French version had either made 
use of an uncorrupted Ms. or perhaps had been 
sagacious enough to discern and reject the inter- 

Ver. 15783. And we also] It should have been 
Its, I take notice of this, because Chaucer is very 
rarely guilty of such an offence against grammar. 

Ver. 15855. Your cours is don.] So all the Mss. 
In. Ed. Urr. don is changed to run; and I believe 
no modern poet would haye joined any other verb 
with cours, especially after he had Msed i^don in the 
preceding line ;' but I am not clear that Chaucer at- 
tended to such niceties. 

In the latter part of this line, the best Mss. read — 
your faith han ye conserved.-— and I know not by 
what negligence I omitted to follow them. 

Ver. 15966. thin utter jey en] Exterioribus oculis, 
Marg. Ms. C. 1. 

Ver. 16023. five mile] So all the Mss. except E. 
which reads " half a mile,** This latter reading 
must certainly be preferred, if we suppose that 
Chaucer meant to mark the interv^} between the 
conelufion of the Nonm^ tale and the arrival of 


the Chanon. But it would be contrary to the gene- 
ral plan of our author's work, and to his practice 
upon other occasions, that the Hoste should suffer 
the company 

" To riden by the way, dombe as the ston,'* 
even for half a mile. I am therefore rather in- 
clined to believe that Jive mile is the right reading, 
and that it was intended to mark the distance from 
some place, which we are now unable to determine 
with certainty, for want of the Prologue to the 
Nonhes tale. 

I have sometimes suspected, that it was the in- 
tention of Chaucer to begin the journey from Can- 
terbury with the Nonnes tale. In that case, fioe 
mile would mark very truly the distance from Can- 
terbury to Boughton under blee. The circumstances 
too of the Chanon's overtaking the pilgrims and 
looking, ** as he had priked/* or galloped, " miles 
three," would agree better with this supposition. 
It is scarce credible that he should have ridden after 
them from Southwark to Boughton without over- 
taking them ; and if he had, it must have been a 
very inadequate representation of his condition, to 
say tliat " it semed, he had priked miles three" 
Besides, the words of the Yeman [ver. 1G066, 7.] 

— Now in the morwe tide 

Out of your hostelrie I saw you ride — 
seem to imply that they were overtaken in the same 


morning in which they set out ; but it must have 
been considerably after noon before they reached 
Boughton from South wark. . 

There is another way of solving these difficulties, 
by supposing that the Pilgrims lay upon the road, 
and that the Nonnes tale was the first of the second 
day's journey. It is most probable, that a great 
part of the company (not to mention their horses) 
would have had no objection to dividing the journey 
to Canterbury into two days ; but if they lay only 
five miles on this side of Boughton, I do not see 
how they coud spend the whole second day till even- 
ing [See ver. 17316] in travelling from thence to 

I must take notice too, in opposition to my first 
hypothesis, that the manner, in which the Yeman 
expresses himself in ver. 16091, 2. seems to shew 
that he was riding to Canterbury. 

Ver. 16156. For Caton sayth] This precept of 
Cato is in L. 1 . Dist. 17. 

Ne cures si quia tacito sermone loquatur ; 
Conscius ipse sibi de se putat omnia dici. 

Ver. 16211. thurgh jupartie] So Ms. C. 1. I 
have followed it, as it comes nearest to the true ori- 
ginal of our word jeopardie, which our etymologists 
have sadly mistaken. They deduce it from J'ai 
perdu, or Jeu perdu ; but I rather believe it to be a 
corruption of Jeu parti. Ajeupartiis properly a 


game, in which the chances are exactly erren. [See 
Proissart, v. i. c. 234. lis n'estoient pas kjeu parti 
contre les Franqois, v. ii. c. 9. se nous les voyonsi 
jeu parti.'] From hence it signifies any thing un- 
certain, or hazardous. In the old French Poetry, 
the discussion of a Problem, where much might be 
said on both sides, was called a Jeu parti. See 
Poesies du Roy de Navarre, Chanson xlviii. and Gloss. 
in V. See also Du Cange in v. Jocus partitus. 

Ver. 16^88. The foure spirites &c.] Compare 
Gower, De Conf, Am. B. iv. fol. 76. b. 

Ver. 1G306. Ascaunce] See the note on ver. 


Ver. 16430. But all thing] This is taken from 
the ParabokB ofAlanus de InsuliSy who died in 1294. 
See Leyser, Hist, Po. Med, Mvi, p. 1074. 

Non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut 
Nee pulchrum pomum quodlibet esse bonum. 

Ver. 16480. a preest an annuellere] They were 
called annuelleres, not from their receiving a yearly 
stipend, as the Gloss, explains it, but from their 
being employed solely in singing aimuals, or anni- 
versary Masses, for the dead, without any cure of 
soules. See the Stat. 36 Edw. III. c. viii. where 
the Chapelleins Parockiels are distinguished from 
others chantanz anuales, et a cure des almes nient en- 
tendantx. They were both to receive yearly stipends, 


but the former was allowed to take six marks, aad 
the latter only five. Compare Stat. 2 H. V. SU 2. 
c. 2. where the stipend of the Chapellein Parochiel 
is raised to eight marks, and that of the Chapellein 
annueler (he is so named in the statute) to seven. 

Ver. 16915. the secree of secrees] He alludes 
to a treatise, entitled, Secreta Secretorum, which was 
supposed to contain the sum of Aristotles instruc- 
tions to Alexander. See Fabric. BibL Gr. v. ii. p. 
167. It was very popular in the middle ages, -ffigi- 
dius de Column a, a famous divine and bishop, about 
the latter end of the xiiith Century, built upon it his 
book De regimine prindpum, of which our Occleve 
made a free translation in English verse, and ad- 
dressed it to Henry V, while Prince of Wales. A 
part of Lydgates translation of the Secreta Secrete^ 
rum is printed in Ashmole*s Theat, Chem. Brit. p. 
397. He did not translate more than about half of 
it, being prevented by death. See Ms. Harl. 2251. 
and Tanner, Bib, Brit, in v. Lydgate. The great- 
est part of the viith Book of Gower's Conf. Amant. 
is taken from this supposed work of Aristotle. 

Ver 16918. As his book Senior] Ed. Urr. reads 
— As in his book — which I should have preferred to 
the common reading, if I had found it in any copy 
of better authority. 

The book alluded to is printed in the Theatrum 
ChenUcunif vol. v. p. 219. under this title. " Seni- 


oris Zadith sil. Hamuelis tabula Chymica." The 
story which follows of Plato and his disciple is there 
told, [p. 249.] with some variations, of Salomon. 
" Dixit Salomon rex. Recipe lapidem qui dicitur 
Thitarios — Dixit sapiens, Assigna mihi ilium. Dixit, 
est corpus magnesuB— Dixit, quid est magnesia? 
Respondit, magnesia est aqua, coraposita &c" 

Ver. 16961. Do him come forth] So Mss. Ask. 
1. 2. and some others. The common reading is— 
Do him comfort. The alteration is material, not 
only as it gives a clearer sense, but as it intimates 
to us, that the narrator of a tale was made to come 
out of the crowd, and to take his place within hear- 
ing of the Host, during his narration. Agreably to 
this notion when the Host calls upon Chaucer, [ver* 
13628] he says, 

Approche nere, and loke up merily. 
Now ware you. Sires, and let this man have 
It was necessary that the Hoste, who was to be "juge 
and reportour*' of the tales [ver. 816], should hear 
them all distinctly. The others might hear as much 
as they coud, or as they chose, of them. It would 
have required the lungs of a Stentor, to speak au- 
dibly to a company of thirty people, trotting on to- 
gether in a road of the fourteenth Century. 

Ver. 16965. to slepen by the morwe] This must 
be understood generally for the day-time ; as it was 


then after-noon. It has been observed in the Dis- 
course &c. § xiii. that, in this episode of the Coke, 
no notice is taken of his having told a tale before. 

Ver. 1699 1 . wol ye just at the fan ?] Some Mss. 
read — van. The sense of both words is the same. 
The thing meant is the Quintaine, which is called a 
Jun, or van, from its turning round like a weather-^ 
cock. See Du Cange in v. Van a; Menestrier sur 
les tournois, as quoted by Menage, Diet. EtymoL in 
V. Quii^taine; and Kennet's Paroch. Antiq, 

Ver. 16*993. win of ape] This is the reading of 
Mss. HA. D. E. and Ed. Ca. I. and 1 believe the 
true one. The explanation in the Gloss, of this and 
the preceding passage, from Mr. Speght, is too ri- 
diculous to be repeated. Wine of ape I understand 
to mean the same as vin de singe in the old Calen- 
drier des Bergiers. Sign. 1. ii. b. The author is 
treating of Physiognomy, and in his description of 
the four temperaments he mentions, among other 
circumstances, the different effects of wine upon 
them. The Cholerick, he says, a vin de Lyon ; cest 
a dire, quant a hien heu vault tanser noyser et battre 
— The Sanguine, a vin de Singe ; quant a plus heu 
tant est plus joy eux— hi the same manner the Phleg- 
matick is said to have vin de mouton, and the Mer 
lancholick vin de porceau. 

I find the same four animals applied to illustrate 
the effects of wine in a little Rabbinical tradition, 
which I shall transcribe here from Fabric. Cod. 


Pseudepig. V. T. vol. i. p. 275. Vinefu plantofUi 
Noacho Satanam se junxisse memoraniy qui, dum Noa 
vites plantaret, mactaverit apud illas ovem, leonem, 
simiam tt suem : Quod principio potds vini homo sit 
instar. ow'iSy vinum sumptum efidat ex homine leonem, 
largius haustum mutet eum in saUaniem simiam, ad 
ebrietatem infusum transformet ilium in pollutam et 
prostatum suenu See also Gesta Romanoruniy c. 
159. where a story of the same purport is quoted 
from JosephuSy in lihro de ccuu rerum natnralium 

Ver. 16999. a faire chivachee] A fair expedition. 
See the note on ver. 85. The common Editt. read 

Ver. 17112. Take any brid] This passage is too 
like one which has occurred before in the Squieres 
tale, ver. 10925. The thought is plainly taken from 
Boethius, L. iii. Met. 2. See also Rom. de la R, 
ver. 14717—34. 

Ver. 17124. Let take a cat] This is imitated from 
Rom, de la R, ver. 14825. 

Ver. 17130. Lo, here hath kind] So Mss. Ask. 
1. 2. The common Editt. read, lust. Kind is na- 
ture. See the next line but one, and ver. 10922,4. 

Ver. 17132. A she-wolf] This is also from the 
Rom, dela R. ver. 8142. 

Tout ainsi comme fait la louve, 

Que sa folic tant empire, 

Qu'elle pfrent de tons loups le pire. 

Ver. 17173. or any these] Aw^ is from conjecture 


only instead of a, the reading of all the Mas. that I 
have consulted. The reading of Ed. Urr. is — or 
elles a thefe — whether from authority or conjecture 
I cannot tell; but even as a conjecture I should 
have adopted it in preference to my own, If I had 
taken notice of it in time. 

Ver. 17278. My sone thy tonge] In the Rom, de 
la R. ver. 7399. this precept is quoted from Ptolom^e, 

Au commencer de CAlmageste, 
See the note on ver. 5764. 

Ver. 17281. The firste vertue] This precept is 
also quoted in the Rmn, de la R. ver. 7415. from 
Cato. It is extant L. i. Dist. 3. 

Virtutem primam esse puta compescere linguam. 

Ver. 1 7308. be non auctour newe] This seems to 
be from Cato. L. i. Dist. 12. 

Rumores fuge, ne incipias noviis auctor haberi. 
It looks as if Chaucer read, 

Rumoris fuge ne incipias novus auctor haberi. 

Ver. 17315. Foure of the clock] See the Dis- 
course &c. § xli. 

Ver. 17321. Therwith the mones exaltation In 
mene Libra alway gan ascend] This is a vei*y ob- 
scure passage. Some of the Mss. read—I mene 
Libra. According to the reading which I have fol- 
lowedy^exaltation is not to be considered as a tech- 
nical term, but as signifying simply rising ,- and the 
sense will be, that the moon 6 ristng, in the mkddJte of 
Libra, was continuaUif ascending &c. 


If exaltation be taken in its technical meaning, as 
explained in the note on ver. 6284, it will be im- 
possible to make any sense of either of the readings: 
for the exaltation of tlie moon was not in LibrUy but 
in Taurus. Kalendrier des Bergiers. Sign. i. ult. Mr. 
Speght, I suppose, being aware of this, alered JLir 
bra into Taunts ; but he did not consider, that the 
Sun, which has just been said to be descendingy was 
at that time in Taurus, and that consequently Tau- 
rus must also have been descending. 

Libra therefore should by no means be parted 
with. Being in that part of the Zodiac which is 
nearly opposite to Taurus (the place of the sun), it 
is very properly represented as ascending above the 
horizon toward the time of the Sun's setting. If any 
alteration were to be admitted, I should be for 
reading — 

Therwith Saturnes exaltation, 

I mene Libra, alway gan ascende 
The exaltation of Saturn was in Libra, Kalendrier 
des Bergiers. Sign. K. i. 

Ver. 17354. I cannot geste, rom, ram, raf},This 
is plainly a contemptuous manner of descrbino- al- 
literative poetry; and the Person's prefatory de- 
claration that " he is a Southern man," would lead 
one to imagine, that compositions in that style were, 
at this time, chiefly confined to the Northern pro- 
vinces. It was observed long ago by William of 
Malmesbury, 1. iii. Pontif. Angl that the language 


of the North of England was so harsh and unpo- 
lished, as to be scarce intelligible to a Southern 
man. Quod propter viciniam barbararum gentiunif et 
propter remotioneni regum quondam Anglorum mode 
Normannorum contigit, qui magis ad Austrum quani 
ad AquiUyiieni diver sati noscuntur. From the same 
causes we may presume, that it was often long be- 
fore the improvements in the poetical art, which 
from time to time were made in the South, coud 
find their way into the North; so that there the 
hobbling alliterative verse might still be in the 
highest request, even after Chaucer had established 
the use of the Heroic metre in this part of th6 island. 
Dr. Percy has quoted an alliterative poem by a Che- 
shire man on the battle of Flodden in 1513, and he 
has remarked " that all such poets as used this 
kind of metre retained along with it many peculiar 
Saxon idioms*'' Essay on Metre of P. P. This 
may perhaps have been owing to their being gene- 
rally inhabitants of the Northern counties, where 
the old Saxon idiom underwent much fewer and 
slower alterations, than it did in the neighbourhood 
of the capital. 

To geste here is to relate gestes. In ver. 13861. hie 
has called it to telle in geste. Both passages seem 
to imply that Gestes were chiefly written in allitera- 
tive verse, but the latter passage more strongly than 


this. After the Host has told Chaucer, that he 
" shall no longer rime/* he goes on — 

« Let see wher thou canst tellen ought in gesU^ 

Or tellen in prose somwhat at the leste — '* 
Geste there seems to be put for a species of compo- 
sition, which was neither Rime nor Prose ; and what 
that coud be, except alliterative metre, I cannot guess. 
At the same time I must own, that I know no other 
passage which authorizes the interpretation of Geste 
in this confined sense. In the H. of F. ii. 114. 
Chaucer speaks of himself as making — 
*' bokes, songes, ditees 

In rime, or elles in cadence,*' 
where cadence, I think, must mean a species of poe- 
tical composition distinct from riming verses. The 
name might be properly enough applied to the me- 
tre used in the Ormulum [See the Essay, &c. n. 52.], 
but no work of Chaucer in any such metre, without 
rime, has come within my observation. 

Ver. 1737s. had the wordes] This is a French 
phrase. It is applied to the Speaker of the Com- 
mons in Rot, Pari, 51 £. III. n. 87. Mons. Thomas 
de Hungerford, Chivaler, qi avoit les paroles pur 
les Communes d'Angleterre en cest Parlement, &c. 
P. 6. I. 2. forlete sinne or that sinne- forlete 
hem] The same thought occurs, by way of precept, 
at the end of the Doctour's tale, ver. 12220, 

Forsaketh sinne or sinne you forsake. 


P. 35. 1. 19. sayth Moyses] I cannot tell where. 
Perhaps there may be some such passage in the 
Rabbinical histories of Moses, which the learned 
Gaulmin published in the last century [Paris 16*^9, 
8vo.], and which, among other traditions, contain 
that alluded to by S. Jude, Ep. ver. 9. 

P. 37. 1. 1. in the thurrok] The Editt. have 
changed this word, in this place, into timber, though, 
in another place, p. 81. 1. 9. they have left it, 
and Mr. Speght explains it to mean an heap. It is 
a Saxon word, which the Glossaries render cymba, 
caupolusy (originally perhaps campuluSy as it was 
sometimes written. Du Cange, in v. Caupulus). 
It seems to have signified any sort of keeled vessel, 
and from thence, what we call, the hold of a ship. 
The following explanation of it from an old book, 
entitled, ** Oure Ladyes mirroure'* [Lond. 1530. foL 
57. b.], will fully justify Chaucer's use of it in both 
places, in the first literally, and in the second me- 
taphorically. " Ye shall understande that there ys 
a place in the bottome of a shyppe, wherin ys gather- 
ed all the fylthe that cometh into the shyppe — and 
it is called in some centre of thys londe a thorrocke. 
Other calle yt an hamran, and some calle yt the 
bulcke of the shyppe." I know not what to make of 

P. 43. 1. 9. outragious array of clothing] What 
follows should be read carefully by any Antiquary, 


who may mean to write de Re Vestiarid of the En- 
glish nation in the xivth Century. 

P. 113. 1. *23. so high doctrine I lete to di- 
vines] See before, ver. 17366 — ^71. and below, p. 
125. 1. 11. " The exposition of this — I betake to the 
maisters of Theologie." The secular clergy, in the 
time of Chaucer, being generally very ignorant, it 
would not have been in character, I suppose, to re- 
present the Persone as a deep divine, though a very 
pious, worthy Priest. The Frere (whose brethren 
had the largest share of the learning which was then 
in fashion ) is made to speak with great contempt of 
the Parochial Pastors, ver. 7590. 

" This every lewed Vicar and Person 

Can say &c." 
And yet in the Person's Character, ver. 402. we are 
told that — 

** He was also a lerned man, o, clerk** 
It may be doubted therefore, whether in these pas- 
sages Chaucer may not speak for himself, forgetting 
or neglecting the character of the real speaker. 

P. 130. 1. 12. Now preye I to hem alle &c.] What 
follows being found, with some small variations, in 
all complete Mss. (I believe) of the Canterbury t9.1es, 
and in both Caxton's Editions, which were un- 
doubtedly printed from Mss. there was no pretence 
to leave it out in this Edition, however difficult it 
may be to give any satisfactory account of it. 


I must first take notice, that this passage in Ms. 
Ask. 1. is introduced by these words — 

Here taketh the maker his leve, 
and is concluded by these — 

Here endeth the Per sonny s Tale. 
In Ms. Ask. ^. there is a similar introduction and 
conclusion in Latin ; at the beginning, — Hie capit 
auctor licentiam — and at the end, — Explicit narratio 
Rectoris, et ultima internarrationes hujus libri de qui- 
bus composuit Chancery cujus anime propicietur Deus, 

These two Mss. therefore may be considered as 
agreeing in substance with those Mss. mentioned in 
the Discourse, &c. § xlii. in which this passage makes 
part of the Persones Tale. One of them is described 
by Hearne, in his letter to Bagford, App. to R. G. 
p. 661, 2. 

In Edit. Ca. ^. as quoted by Ames, p. 56. it is 
clearly separated from the Persones Tale, and entitled, 

The Prayer, 
In the Mss. in which it is also separated from the 
Persones tale, I do not remember to have seen it 
distinguished by any title, either of Prayer, or Re- 
vocation ; or Retractation, as it is called in the Pre- 
face to Ed. Urry. If we believe what is said in 
P. 131. 1. 1. Chaucer had written a distinct piece 
entitled, his Retractions, in which he had revoked 
bis blameable compositions. 

VOL. IV. z 

338 H0TE8 ON THE 

The just inference from these variations in &e 
Mss. is perhaps, that none of them are to be at all 
relied on ; that different Copyists hare giyeo. this 
passage the title that pleased them best, and have 
attributed it to the Persone or to Chaucer, as the 
matter seemed to them to be most suitable to the 
one or the other. 

Mr. Hearne, whose greatest weakness iiras not 
his incredulity, has declared his suspicion, ^^ that 
the Revocation (meaning this whole passage) is not 
genuine, but that it was made by the Monks." [App. 
to R. G. p. 603.]. I cannot go quite so far. I 
think, if the Monks had set about making a Revo- 
cation for Chaucer to be annexed to the Canterbury 
Tales, they would have made one more in form. 
The same objection lies to the supposal, that it was 
made by himself. 

The most probable hypothesis, which has oc- 
curred to me, for the solution of these difficulties, is 
to suppose, that the beginning of this passage (ex- 
cept the words * or reden tV P. 130. 1. 13.) and the end 
make together the |^nuine conclusion of the Per- 
sones Tale, and that the middle part, which 1 have 
inclosed between hooks^ is an interpolation. 

It must be allowed, I think (as I have observed 
before in the Discour8e> &c. § xlii.) that the appella- 
tion of *' litel trettse'' «uii8 better wkh the Persones 
tale taken singly, than with the whole work. The 


doubt expressed in 1. 16. ^< if there be any thing 
that displeseth &o." is very agreeable to the man- 
ner in which the Persone speaks in his Prologue, 
ver. 17366. [See the note on P. 113. 1. 23.] The 
mention of " verray penance cdnfession and satis- 
faction" in P. 131. 1.17. seems to refer pointedly 
to the subject of the speaker*s preceding discourse ; 
and the title given to Christ in P. 131. 1. 19. " Preest 
of all Preestes" seems peculiarly proper in the mouth 
of a Preest, 

So much for those parts which may be supposed 
to have originally belonged to the Persone. With 
respect to the middle part, I think it not improba- 
ble, that Chaucer might be persuaded, by the Re- 
ligious who attended him in his last illness, to re- 
voke, or retract, certain of his works ; or at least 
that they might give out, that he had made such 
Retractions as they thought proper. In either case, 
it is possible that the same zeal might think it ex- 
pedient to join the substance of these Retractions to 
the Canterbury Tales, the antidote to the poison ; 
and might accordingly procure the present interpo- 
lation to be made in the Epilogue to the Persones 
Tale, taking care at the same time, by the insertion 
of the words " or reden if* 130. 1. 13. to convert that 
epilogue from an address of the Persone to his 
hearers into an address of Chaucer to his readers. 


But, leaving these very uncertain speculations, 1 
will say a few words upon those enditings of worWii 
vanitees, which are here supposed to have sitten 
heavy on our author's conscience. 

P. 311. 1. 1. the boke of Troilus] It has been said 
in the Essay, &c. n. 62'. that the Troilus is borrowed 
from the Filostrato of Boccace. This is evident not 
only from the Fable and Characters, which are the 
same in both poems, but also from a number of pas- 
sages in the English which are literally translated 
from the Italian. At the same time there are seve- 
ral long passages, and even episodes, in the Troilus, 
of which there are no traces in the Filostrato. Of 
these therefore it may be doubted, whether Chaucer 
has added them out of his own invention, or taken 
them either from some completer copy of Boccace's 
' poem than what we have in print, or from some copy 
interpolated by another hand. He speaks of him- 
self as a translator out of Latin y B. ii. 14. and in two 
paf^sages he quotes his author by the name of Lo/- 
liusy B. i. 394 — 421, and B. v. 1652. The latter 
passage is in the Filostrato, but the former (in which 
the 1 02d Sonnet of Petrarch is introduced) is not. 
What he says of having translated out of Latin need 
not make any difficulty, as the Italian language was 
commonly called Latino volgare [See the quotation 
from the Theseida, Discourse, &c. n. 9.] ; and Lyd- 


gate [Prol. to Boccace] expressly tells us, that 
Chaucer translated — " a boke, which called is 

" In Lombard tongey as men may rede and see." 
How Boccace should have acquired the name of JLoi- 
lius, and the FUostrato the title of Trophe, are points 
which I confess myself unable to explain. 

Ibid. 1. 2. the boke of Fame] Chaucer mentions 
this among his works in the Leg. of G. W.ver. 417. 
He wrote it while he was Comptroller of the Custom 
of wools, &c. [See B. ii. ver. 144 — 8.] and conse- 
quently after the year 1374. See App. to Pref. C. 

Ibid, 1. 2. the boke of five and twenty Ladies] 
This is the reading of all the Mss. If it be genuine, 
it affords a strong proof that this enumeration of 
Chaucer's words was not drawn up by himself; as 
there is no ground for believing that the Legends 
of Good women ever contained, or was intended to 
contain, the histories of Jive and twenty Ladies. See 
the note on ver. 4481. It is possible however that 
XXV may have been put by mistake for xix. 

Ibid, 1. 3. the boke of the Duchesse] See the note on 
ver. 4467. One might have imagined that this poem, 
written upon a particular occasion, was in all proba- 
bility an original composition ; but upon comparing 
the portrait of a beautiful woman, which M. de la 
Ravaliere [Foes, du R. de N. Gloss, v. Belee.] has 


cited from Ms. du Roi, N^ 761^. with Chaucer*s de- 
scription of his heroine [ver. 817> et seq.^y I find that 
several lines in the latter are literally translated from 
the former. I should not therefore be surprized, if, 
upon a further examination of that Ms. it should ap- 
pear, that our author, according to his usual prac- 
tice, had borrowed a considerable part of his work 
from some French poet. 

Ibid. 1. 4. the boke of Seint Valentines day &c.] 
In the Editt. the Assemblee of Fatiles, Chaucer him- 
self in the Leg. of G. W. ver. 419. calls it the Parle- 
ment of Foules. See the note on ver. 1920. and 
App. Pref. C. note (e). 

Ibid, 1. 5. the tales of Canterbury &c.J If we sup- 
pose, that this passage was written by Chaucer him- 
self, to make part of the conclusion of his Canter- 
bury Tales, it must appear rather extraordinary, that 
he should mention those tales in this general man- 
ner, and in the midst of his other works. It would 
have been more natural to have placed them either 
at the beginning or at the end of his catalogue. 

Ibid, I. 6. the boke of the Leon] This book is 
also ascribed to Chaucer by Lydgate [Prol. to Boc^ 
cace], but no Ms. of it has hitherto been discovered. 
)t may possibly have been a translation of Le dU du 
Lion, a poem of GuiUaume de Machaut, composed 
in the year 1342. Acad, d^s Inse. t. xx. p. 379. 


408. Some lines from this poem, as I apprehend, 
are quoted in the Glossary to Poes, du Roi, de N. 
v. Arrousers. Bacheler. 

Whether we suppose this list of Chaucer's ex- 
ceptionable works to have been drawn up by him- 
self, or by any other person, it is unaccountable that 
his translation of the Roman de la Rose should be 
omitted. If he translated the whole of that very ex- 
traordinary composition, (as is most probable,) he 
coud scarce avoid being guilty of a much greater 
licentiousness, in sentiment as well ^s diction, than 
we find in any of his other writings. His transla- 
tion, as we have it, breaks off at ver. 5370 of the 
original [ver. 5810. Ed. Urr.], and beginning again 
at ver. 1 1253. ends imperfect at ver. 13105. In the 
latter part we have a strong proof of the negligence 
of the first editor, who did not perceive /that two 
leaves in his Ms. were misplaced. The passage 
from ver. 7013 to ver. 7062 incl. and the passage 
from ver. 7'257 to ver. 7304 incl. should be inserted 
after ver. 7160. The later Editors have all copied 
this, as well as many other blunders of less conse- 
quence, which they must have discovered, if they 
had consulted the French original. 

A Bacheler, who dances with Franchise, is said 
to resemble 

" The Lordes sonne of Wyndesore." 

[R. R. ver. 1250.] 



This sieems to be a compliment to the young Princes 
in general, rather than to any particular son of Ed- 
ward 111, who is certainly meant by the Lord of 
Windsor. In the French it is simply — II sembloit 
esUeJilz de Roy, 

END or VOL. IV. 

T. WHITE & C«. 
Piialai, 14, B«r Allay, LAwlaa